PSILOGRAMMA INCRETA (Walker, [1865]) -- Plain grey hawkmoth

Female Psilogramma increta. Photo: © NHMUK Male Psilogramma increta. Photo: © NHMUK

TAXONOMY

Anceryx increta Walker, [1865], List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum. 31: 36. Type locality: [China,] Shanghai.

Synonym. Anceryx increta Walker, [1865].

Synonym. Sphinx strobi Boisduval, 1868.

Synonym. Sphinx abietina Boisduval, 1875.

Synonym. Psilogramma increta serrata Austaut, 1912.

Synonym. Psilogramma increta f. montana (Mell, 1922).

Synonym. Psilogramma andamanica Brechlin, 2001.

Synonym. Psilogramma japonica Eitschberger, 2001.

Synonym. Psilogramma lukhtanovi Eitschberger, 2001.

Synonym. Psilogramma mandarina Eitschberger, 2001.

Synonym. Psilogramma monastyrskii Eitschberger, 2001.

Synonym. Psilogramma reinhardti Eitschberger, 2001.

Synonym. Psilogramma yilingae Eitschberger, 2001.

Note. A male has been labelled as manuscript lectotype in the NHMUK (M. R. Honey, pers. comm.). A neotype was incorrectly and unnecessarily designated by Eitschberger, 2001 (May 14), Neue ent. Nachr. (Suppl. 1): 4.

Note. Synonymized with Pseudosphinx discistriga (Walker, 1856) by Hampson, [1893], Fauna Brit. India 1: 105. Reinstated as a species by Bartel, 1899, in Rühl & Bartel, 1899-1902, Die palaearktischen Grossschmett. Naturgesch. 2: 37 (key), 51. Synonymized with Psilogramma menephron as a subspecies by Rothschild & Jordan, 1903, Novit. zool. 9 (suppl.): 45. Reinstated as a species by Mell, 1922, Beitr. Fauna Sinica 2 (Biol. Syst. südchin. Sphingiden): 38.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan: 90--122mm. Forewing upperside uniform grey in the pale form, with the transverse lines poorly defined; a black oblique bar at the apex of the discal cell; the apical lines, the costal part of the discal lines, and two discal streaks all very conspicuous against the pale background. In the dark form, all black markings heavier on the forewing upperside, and with a conspicuous black medio-costal area; apical area darker. The underside of the abdomen is usually pure white in this species and brownish in the very similar Psilogramma discistriga (Walker, 1856). Males can make a weak hissing sound by rubbing scales over spines at the end of the abdomen.


Adult male Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Adult male Psilogramma increta, Beijing, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Adult Psilogramma increta (heavily marked), Thailand. Photo: © Ian Kitching Mating pair Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 17.v.2012. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Female Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Adult Psilogramma increta, Taiwan. Photo: © Felix Lin.

ADULT BIOLOGY

A species of open parkland, city suburbs and forest edge.


FLIGHT-TIME

China: v-vii (Sichuan); 17.v. (Zhejiang); 19.v (Shanghai); vi (Yunnan; Hainan; Guizhou; Jiangxi); 30.vi (Zhejiang); vii (Liaoning; Shanghai); 20.vii (Shaanxi); viii (Hubei; Guangxi); 25.viii-19.ix (Shanghai); ix (Shaanxi); 18-21.ix-x (Hong Kong). Taiwan: vii-ix (Pingtung Hsien). North Korea: vi (Mt. Kuwol). South Korea: 6.vii (unstated locality). Japan: 27.v-21.vi (Ryukyu Archipelago); 12.vi-7.viii (Honshu; Tsushima); 20.vii (Hokkaido); 9.viii-27.viii (Hokkaido); 17.viii-26.x (Honshu).

In northern China there are two generations per year, with adults flying in April-May and August-September (Yang, 1978).

Kendrick (2002) states that it is multivoltine in Hong Kong, occurring from March until late November in up to five generations.

Park et al. (1999) give early June until late August as the flight period in Korea.


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Pale, transluscent green when laid, becoming more opaque and yellowish as it develops.


Newly-laid egg of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway

LARVA: Full-fed 69--110mm. Pale yellow on hatching, with a large black horn. With feeding the body colour becomes more green. At this stage most growth is in length, not width.

Generally a tree-feeding species, resting under the leaves on the lower branches of large-leaved trees, but along the twigs of terminal shoots if the tree is smaller leaved. Usually within 0.5-4m of the ground.


First instar larva of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Second instar larva of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Third instar larva of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Early fourth instar mottled form larva of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Late fourth instar larva of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Early final instar mottled form larva of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Full-grown mottled form larva of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Full-grown mottled form larva of Psilogramma increta. Image: Mell, 1922b Full-grown brown form larva of Psilogramma increta. Photo: Mell, 1922b Full-grown grey-green form larva of Psilogramma increta, Beijing, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Full-grown green form larva of Psilogramma increta, Shanghai, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Last instar mottled form larva of Psilogramma increta, Beijing, China, 2.ix.2005. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Last instar green form larva of Psilogramma increta, Taiwan. Photo: Felix Lin. Pre-pupation final instar larva of Psilogramma increta, Singapore. Photo: © Leong Tzi Ming. Pre-pupation final instar larva of Psilogramma increta. Image: Mell, 1922b

PUPA: 45--56mm. Reddish mahogany brown and glossy, but with a pronounced grey bloom at first; this rapidly wears off. Head projecting frontad, with a pronounced free tongue-case stretching one third the way down the wing cases. This has a bulbous tip. Wings smooth, abdominal segments mainly smooth but finely punctate around the leading edge. Spiracular ridges present on movable abdominal segments. Cremaster broadly triangular, dorso-ventrally flattened, with a double sharp point; tuberculate. Similar to that of Agrius convolvuli, but free tongue-case shorter and not reflexed. Formed in an almost silk-free cell in the soil. The overwintering stage.


Pupa of Psilogramma increta, Chengde, Hebei, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway Pupa of Psilogramma increta (lateral view), Singapore. Photo: © Leong Tzi Ming. Pupa of Psilogramma increta (ventral view), Singapore. Photo: © Leong Tzi Ming. Pupa of Psilogramma increta (dorsal view), Singapore. Photo: © Leong Tzi Ming.

Larval hostplants. Recorded in China on Campsis (as Tecoma), Catalpa, Clerodendrum, Dimocarpus, Firmiana, Fraxinus, Ligustrum, Melia, Meliosma, Olea, Osmanthus, Paulownia, Syringa and Vitex (Mell, 1922b; Yang, 1978; Chu et al., 1979; Wang, 1992; Cheng & Yan, 2011), although some records may correctly refer to Psilogramma discistriga. The record on Platanus (Wang, 1992) is suspect. In 1995, the first author found larvae on Ligustrum lucidum in Anhui, and Li & Guo (1990) give Syringa for Shanxi. Kendrick (2002) gives Vitex negundo as the main hostplant in Hong Kong.

Recorded in Korea on Ligustrum obtusifolium, L. japonicum, Syringa reticulata, S. dilatata, Osmanthus fragrans, Clerodendrum tricotonum, Paulownia tomentosa, P. coreana and Quercus aliena (Park et al., 1999).

In Japan, recorded from Callicarpa dichotoma, Ligustrum japonicum, L. obtusifolium, Paulownia tomentosa, Perilla frutescens, Sesamum indicum and Viburnum dilatatum.

Elsewhere, larval hostplants are mostly from Oleaceae, Scrophulariaceae and Verbenaceae, with occasional records from a number of other families.


Ligustrum lucidum, a major host of Psilogramma increta, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway

PARASITOIDS

Ichneumonidae: Quandrus pepsoides (Smith); Tachinidae: Drino atropivora Robineau-Desvoidy.


LOCAL DISTRIBUTION

China: Heilongjiang (Harbin); Liaoning (Dalian); Hebei (Chengde); Beijing (Haidian; Xiangshan; Baihua Shan); Shandong; Shanxi (Xiaxian); Shaanxi (Yangling; Daiwang Shan, 1380m); Henan; Shanghai; Zhejiang (Hangzhou; Ningbo; Siming Shan); Hubei (Yichang; Lichuan); Sichuan (Chengdu; Emei Shan); Yunnan (nr. Jinping, 2155m; Simao/Pu'er; Gaoligong Shan); Guizhou (Fanjingshan, Tongren County); Hunan (Dayong); Jiangxi (Le'an); Fujian; Guangdong (Guangzhou); Hong Kong; Guangxi (Liuzhou); Hainan (Duowen Ling, nr Lingao; Longhushan, Wenchang City).

Taiwan: Taitung; Taipei Hsien (Wulai); Taipei (Yangmingshan; Sindian); Nantou Hsien (Jenai; Puli); Kaohsiung Hsien (Shanping; Chishan); Hualien Hsien; Tainan (Anping); Pingtung Hsien (Kenting; Sheting).

North Korea: South Hwanghae Prov. (Mt. Kuwol, 950m); Kangwon Prov. (Keumgang-san); North Hamgyong Prov. (Gyungsung); South Pyongan Prov. (Pyongyang).

South Korea: Seoul (Seoul; Nan-san); Kyonggi Prov. (Suwon; Gwangleung; Cheonma-san; Asan Bay; Myungji-san); Kangwon Prov. (Cheolwon; Hwacheon; Gojindong; Geonbong Temple; Seolak-san; Gangleung; Woljeong Temple; Sogumgang; Chiak-san; Hoengseong-dam; Donghae; Chuncheon; Bongmyung-ri; Odae-san; Hongcheon; Youngwol); North Chungchong Prov. (Songni-san; Chupungryung; Minjuji-san); South Chungchong Prov. (Gongju; Gyeryong-san); North Cholla Prov. (Jiri-san; Namwon; Muju); South Cholla Prov. (Baekyang Temple; MokpoJogye-san; Jin-do; Geumo-do; Yeon-do; Hong-do; Gurye; Yeocheon); North Kyongsang Prov. (Daegu; Sobaek-san; Juwang-san; Ulleung-do); South Kyongsang Prov. (Gibaek-san; Hwangsuk-san; Hamyang; Jinyang; Pusan; Jinju; Geoje-do; Goseong; Manhae; Sancheong; Hadong; Hapcheon); Cheju Prov. (Cheju-do; Halla-san; Seoguipo; Ora-dong; Ara-dong; Topyung; Susan-ri; Suakbong; Gwaneum Temple).

Japan: Hokkaido (Matsumae; Nanae, Kameda District); Honshu (Gifu; Yokohama; Nashimoto; Shinshiro; Mikaboyama, 750m; Fujisawa; Bushi; Hachijyo Island); Shikoku; Kyushu (Kagoshima; Naze); Tsushima (Sasuna); Ryukyu Archipelago (Amamioshima; Okinawa; Iriomoteshima; Tanegashima; Yakushima).


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

This species occurs from northern Pakistan (Rafi et al., 2014) and northwestern India eastwards across Nepal, Bhutan and Burma/Myanmar to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, then north through Taiwan and eastern China to Korea and Japan (Komatsu & Inoko, 2000).

[Psilogramma increta is replaced in the Western Ghats, southern India, and Sri Lanka by Psilogramma vates (Butler, 1875); in Peninsular Malaysia and the Greater Sunda Islands, Indonesia, by Psilogramma edii (Eitschberger, 2001), and by other species in the other islands of Indonesia and farther east. However, the status of many of these species, which are mostly based on minor and often inconsistent differences in wing pattern and genital morphology, remain to be critically assessed.]

The introduced population on Hawaii has now been confirmed as being Psilogramma increta, not P. menephron.


Global distribution of Psilogramma increta. Map: © NHMUK.

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

Holarctic and Oriental; eastern Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Unknown.



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