LAOTHOE POPULI POPULETORUM (Staudinger, 1887) -- Poplar hawkmoth

Female Laothoe populi populetorum, Fergana Valley, Uzbekistan. Photo: © NHMUK

TAXONOMY

Smerinthus populi var. populetorum Staudinger, 1887, Stettiner Entomologische Zeitung 48: 65. Type locality: [Kyrgyzstan,] Osch [Osh] (Haberhauer) [MNHU]; Lectotype designated by Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998, Herbipoliana 4(1): 111.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan: 70--120mm. Very like subsp. populi. Many have a reddish tone, which is easily produced by subjecting developing pupae to heat, or grey replacing the pinkish tint.


Male Laothoe populi populetorum, Zharkent district, Almaty region, Dzhungarsky Alatau Mountains, South-East Kazakhstan, 25.vi.2012. Photo: © Sergey Rybalkin. Male Laothoe populi populetorum, Zharkent district, Almaty region, Dzhungarsky Alatau Mountains, South-East Kazakhstan, 25.vi.2012. Photo: © Sergey Rybalkin.

ADULT BIOLOGY


FLIGHT-TIME

China: 23.iv.-v (Xinjiang).

Probably bivoltine; April-May and again in July/August.


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Pale green, almost sperical and large for the size of moth.

LARVA: Unknown.

PUPA: Unknown.

Larval hostplants. Unknown in China but recorded elsewhere on Populus and Salix (Pittaway, 1993).


PARASITOIDS

Unknown.


LOCAL DISTRIBUTION

China: Xinjiang (Yining/Gulja).

The above records (two specimens in SACS recorded by Pittaway & Kitching (2000) as Laothoe populi populeti (Bienert, [1870])) confirm the occurrence of Laothoe populi populetorum in China.


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

River valleys in the mountains and foothills of eastern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and south-eastern Kazakhstan (south of the Kyrgyz Steppe) to northwest China (Alphéraky, 1882), possibly as far as the southern Altai Mountains.


Global distribution of Laothoe populi populetorum. Map: © NHMUK.

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

Holarctic; western Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- Turkestan refuge.



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