Xylophanes pluto
Updated as per AN ANNOTATED CHECKLIST OF THE SPHINGIDAE OF BOLIVIA, October 2007
Updated as per http://www.pybio.org/SPHINGINAE.htm (Paraguay), October 2007
Updated as per More, Kitching and Cocucci's Hawkmoths of Argentina 2005, October, 2007
Updated as per personal communication with Shelby Heeter (Lower Matecumbe, Monroe County, Florida, November 17, 2008), January 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Ezequiel Nunez Bustos (Aguas Blancas, Salta, Argentina, 405m); December 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Ezequiel Nunez Bustos (Osununu Private Reserve, Misiones, Argentina, November 24, 2009); December 2009
Updated as per personal communication with Paul Hoekstra (Yucatan, Mexico, September 13, 2011); October 2, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Ben Trott (Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico); February 25, 2012; January 9, 2013
Updated as per personal communication with Larry Valentine (Itanhandu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, February 8, 2013); February 9, 2013
Updated as per "A Hawk Moths fauna of southern Maranhão state, Brazil, ... "; NEVA: Jahrgang 34 Heft 3 November 2013; via Jean Haxaire; April 5, 2014
Updated as per personal communication with Elliotte Rusty Harold, (Panama, November 2011), May 18, 2014
Updated as per personal communication with Hubert Mayer, (La Union del Toachi, Pichincha, Ecuador); June 7, 2014
Updated as per personal communication with Sergio D. Ríos Díaz in CATÁLOGO DE LOS SPHINGIDAE (INSECTA: LEPIDOPTERA) DEPOSITADOS EN EL MUSEO NACIONAL DE HISTORIA NATURAL DEL PARAGUAY; sent to me in July 2014 by Sergio D. Ríos Díaz.

Xylophanes pluto
zail-AH-fan-eesMPLOO-toh
(Fabricius, 1777) Sphinx


Xylophanes pluto, Mexico, courtesy of Manuel Balcazar-Lara.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.

TAXONOMY:

Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
Subfamily: Macroglossinae, Harris, 1839
Tribe: Macroglossini, Harris, 1839
Genus: Xylophanes Hubner [1819] ...........
Species: pluto (Fabricius, 1777)

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DISTRIBUTION:

Xylophanes pluto (Wing span: 2 1/16 - 2 9/16 inches (5.3 - 6.5 cm)) flies in
Bolivia: Santa Cruz, La Paz;
Paraguay: Asuncion, Presidente Hayes, Concepcion, San Pedro, Canindeyu, Alto Parana, Cordillera, Caaguazu, Paraguari, Guaira, Caazapa (probably Central and Itapua (WO??);
Argentina: Corrientes, Jujuy, Tucuman, Salta (405m EB), Misiones (EB);
tropical and subtropical lowlands (as high as 1500m in Argentina);
from Brazil: Minas Gerais; southern Maranhao; and elsewhere;
Ecuador: Pichincha (HM);
north through Central America,
Mexico: Yucatan (PH), Quintana Roo (BT), probably throughout Mexico;
Belize: Orange Walk, Corozol, Cayo, Toledo;
Guatemala: Izabal(JM);
Panama (ERH); and the West Indies to southern Florida and South Texas.

Xylophanes pluto, Canopy Lodge, El Valle de Anton, Panama,
November 2011, courtesy of Elliotte Rusty Harold.

Antilles is the specimen type locality.

Visit Xylophanes pluto, Lower Matecumbe, Monroe County, Florida, November 17, 2008, courtesy of Kevin and Shelby Heeter.

Visit Xylophanes pluto, Osununu Private Reserve, Misiones, Argentina, November 24, 2009, courtesy of Ezequiel Nunez Bustos.

Visit Xylophanes pluto, Yucatan, Mexico, September 13, 2011, Paul Hoekstra.

Visit Xylophanes pluto, adult, recto and verso, Itanhandu, Minas Gerais, Brazil, February 8, 2013, Larry Valentine.

Visit Xylophnes pluto male and female, La Union del Toachi, Pichincha, Ecuador, December, 1988, Hubert Mayer.

Xylophanes pluto male courtesy of Hubert Mayer copyright.

The pronunciation of scientific names is troublesome for many. The "suggestion" at the top of the page is merely a suggestion. It is based on commonly accepted English pronunciation of Greek names and/or some fairly well accepted "rules" for latinized scientific names.

The suggested pronunciations, on this page and on other pages, are primarily put forward to assist those who hear with internal ears as they read.

There are many collectors from different countries whose intonations and accents would be different.

Jean Marie Cadiou writes, "When I say "Xylophanes" in English I pronounce it something like "Zailophanees", with the emphasis on the "o". The French pronounce it differently, something like "Kzeelophaness" with no emphasis, and the Germans yet in a different way..."

Some of the early describers/namers chose genus and species names indicating some character of the insect, but more often, they simply chose names from Greek or Roman mythology or history.

Those species names which end in "ensis" indicate a specimen locale, and those which end in "i", pronounced "eye", honour a contempory friend/collector/etc.

"Xylophanes" sounds like it is from Greek mythology, and Pluto, in Greek mythology, is the lord of Hades, the underworld.

The upperside of the forewing is olive green with a paler median band and pale lines with purple shading along them. The upperside of the hindwing has a white spot surrounded by black at the base, a wide orangish yellow median band, and a brown to greenish band along the outer margin.

Xylophanes pluto in a typical resting pose to the right.

Xylophanes pluto, Boca Raton, Florida, courtesy of Alan Chin-Lee.

FLIGHT TIMES:

The Pluto sphinx, Xylophanes pluto, has several flights throughout the year in Florida and South Texas, and it broods continuously in the tropics.

Sergio Rios Diaz reports March and September-December flights in Paraguay.

Xylophanes pluto south Texas, ex pupa, courtesy of Mike van Buskirk

ECLOSION:

Pupae probably wiggle to surface from subterranean chambers just prior to eclosion.

Xylophanes pluto ventral, south Texas, ex pupa, courtesy of Mike van Buskirk

SCENTING AND MATING:

Females call in the males with a pheromone released from a gland at the tip of the abdomen. Adults nectar at a variety of flowers including wild verbena and Asystasia gangetica beginning at dusk.

EGGS, LARVAE AND PUPAE:

Larvae feed on Milkberry (Chiococca species), Firebush (Hamelia patens), Indian Mulberry (Morinda royoc) and Erythroxylon species. Generally larvae feed on plants in the Ruciaceae family.

There are three known colour morphs: green, brown, and purple/brown. The false eyes are rather striking in this purple/brown form.

Larvae feed beginning at dusk and through the night, hiding during the day at the base of their host plant or in nearby surrounding vegetation. The caterpillars usually either consume entire leaves or half of a leaf.

Visit Xylophanes pluto (green form) on firebush, Kelli Whitney, Park Naturalist II, Long Key Nature Centre, Broward County, Florida, August 30, 2009.

Pentas should be added to the foodplant list as I received these images of Xylophanes pluto feeding on pentas from Miami, Florida, December 7, 2004, courtesy of Lesli Radcliffe.

Additional images, below, courtesy of Lee Dyer.

Green form in third instar.

Xylophanes pluto pupa, courtesy of Mike Van Buskirk.

Xylophanes pluto pupa, courtesy of Mike Van Buskirk.

Parasitoids include Drino species, Belvosia species and other members of the Tachinidae family.

Visit Xylophanes pluto, from Edinburg, Hidalgo County, via Mike Quinn, courtesy of Cat Traylor.

Ben Trott sends a series of images from Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Xylophanes pluto fourth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott

Xylophanes pluto fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott

Xylophanes pluto fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott

Xylophanes pluto fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott

Xylophanes pluto fifth instar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott

Xylophanes pluto prepupal, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott

Xylophanes pluto, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico,
courtesy of Ben Trott

Ben Trott writes, "Xylophanes pluto (x4), A lot of evidence of other larvae feeding on three species of hostplant growing on open ground. Once again I can’t identify these plants. All I can say is the vine they feed on is not listed on your website, and it is single leaved. Otherwise, I've included a photo of one of the hostplants. This species also annoints prior to pupation."

Further observations from Ben Trott: "A couple of photos of a X. pluto female which hatched after 18 days of pupation on the 28th Dec. (same night as E. anchemolus) with a wingspan of 80mm. I've attached a photo of the 4th instar which is olive green (found on the 3rd Dec.), and the same larva in its 5th instar (orange form) which pupated around the 10th Dec (the female pupa measures 51mm). The primary hostplant for the larvae is Morinda, in the Rubiaceae family."

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