The studies of Pittaway (1993, 1995) and Danner et al. (1998) comprehensively documented the Sphingidae of the western Palaearctic region, east to Afghanistan, Kashmir and the Tian Shan of central Asia. In contrast, the sphingid fauna of the eastern Palaearctic is less well known, with the exception of Japan (Inoue et al., 1982). In particular, the Sphingidae of China, a huge and biogeographically diverse country, are relatively poorly understood. The publications of Chu & Wang (1980, 1983) and Zhu & Wang (1997) went some way to alleviating this deficiency, but these works contain numerous misidentifications and other errors that detract from their general utility. Furthermore, they also omit much data, particularly with regard to records from regional Chinese collections. This site seeks, to some extent, to rectify this and also to correct previously published erroneous data. Furthermore, although the focus of this site is China, Sphingidae do not respect national boundaries and we initially considered it important to include information from Siberia, the Russian Far East, Mongolia, Korea and Taiwan so that the Chinese data can be better interpreted. In 2003 a further nine endemic Japanese species were added to make the site one covering the Eastern Palaearctic as a whole.

In 1995, the first author made a six-week visit to China, followed by several shorter trips between 1999 and 2013, to gather information on the biology, distribution and flight-times of Chinese Sphingidae. These data were obtained by field trapping and study of specimens in numerous institutional collections, most notably: Shanghai Institute of Entomology, Academia Sinica, Shanghai (SIES); Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, Anhui (AAUH); Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica, Beijing (IZAS); Department of Forest Protection, Northwestern College of Forestry, Yangling, Shaanxi (NCFY); Forestry Bureau, Weinan, Shaanxi (FBWS); Shaanxi Forest Science Institute, Yangling, Shaanxi (SFSI); Entomological Institute, Northwest Agricultural University, Yangling, Shaanxi (NAUY); Department of Plant Protection, Xinjiang Agricultural University, Ürümqi, Xinjiang (XAUX); Xinjiang Academy of Forest Research, Ürümqi, Xinjiang (XAFR); Shihezi Agricultural College, Shihezi, Xinjiang (SACS); and the Southwest Forestry College, Kunming, Yunnan (SWFC). This information has been supplemented with data derived from the collections of The Natural History Museum, London (NHMUK), the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (CMNH), and the private collections of the late Jean-Marie Cadiou (now in the NHMUK) and Alfonso Iorio (Italy).

We have tried to include most verified information for every sphingid species and subspecies recorded from the Eastern Palaearctic. In particular, we have concentrated on the taxonomy, biology, ecology and biogeography of each taxon. For many species, we have collated information from Chinese literature sources that are difficult to obtain in the West. The phylogenetic sequence of genera and taxonomy of species follows Kitching & Cadiou (2000) (with the exception of Callambulyx sichangensis, q.v.). Species/subspecies are treated alphabetically within genera. Under each species/subspecies, we cite the original description and type locality (interpreted as necessary), and all of the following data categories, where known.

Synonym(s). Data on original descriptions and type localities are given.

Taxonomic note. Includes observations and discussion of taxonomic questions pertinent to the taxon. This section is not complete for every species.

Records. Chinese distributional data are listed by province, with more precise localities given in parentheses. The provinces follow a standard order, approximately northeast to southwest, while localities are listed alphabetically. North and South Korea are treated in a similar manner, but it should be noted that some provinces are split between the two countries. Data from Russia and Taiwan are given by administative region and county, respectively, followed by more precise localities. Japan is listed by major island, with more precise localities given in parentheses. Uncertain or dubious distributional records are preceded by '?'. We have attempted to locate every important locality on modern maps and in numerous gazetteers, and to verify the currently accepted spelling. A gazetteer to such localities is presented as part of this site. Localities that we were unable to find are preceded by '??'.

Distribution. Includes a summary of the distribution outside of the Eastern Palaearctic.

Flight-time. Data on known flight-times as recorded on specimen labels and from field captures are summarized. For each country, flight-times are ordered chronologically, with the province (or other locality where uncertain) given in parentheses.

Biology. Information on biology within the Eastern Palaearctic is given where known.

Larval hostplants. Larval hostplant records within the Eastern Palaearctic are listed and referenced. Data from the Chinese literature have been extensively incorporated. Probable and certain erroneous records are noted. Translations of Chinese names of plants follow Feng (1983). Generalizations of larval hostplant ranges were derived from the HOSTS database at the NHMUK (Robinson, 1999).

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© A.R. Pittaway & I.J. Kitching (The Natural History Museum, London)