SPHINX MORIO ARESTUS (Jordan, 1931) -- Asian Pine hawkmoth

Male Sphinx morio arestus. Photo: © NHMUK Sphinx morio arestus, Muling, Heilongjiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway, IZAS

TAXONOMY

Hyloicus pinastri arestus Jordan, 1931, Novit. zool. 36: 244. Type locality: [Russia, Khabarovskiy Kray,] Nikolajewsk [Nikolayevsk-na-Amure], mouth of Amur [river].

Synonym. Hyloicus pinastri arestus Jordan, 1931.

Synonym. Sphinx hakodoensis O. Bang-Haas, 1936, Ent. Z., Frankf. a.M. 50: 254. Type locality: Corea sept. [North Korea], Hakodo Province [North Hamgyong Prov.], Seishin [Chongjin], Siren Mountains, 250m; [North Korea,] Poktussan [Baekdu-san/Changbaishan].

Synonym. Sphinx laricis Rozkhov, 1972.

Synonym. Hyloicus morio heilongjiangensis Zhao & Zhang, 1992, Acta entomol. sin. 35: 95. Type locality: China, Heilongjiang, Dai Ling Mountains [Dailing, south of Yichun].

Note. Sphinx morio is now recognized as a species distinct from the European Sphinx pinastri Linnaeus, 1758, with three subspecies. Subsp. morio (Jordan, 1931) inhabits only central and northern Honshu, Japan (Owada & Kogi, 1992); subsp. inouei (Owada & Kogi, 1992) inhabits only northern Hokkaido, Japan (Owada & Kogi, 1992); subsp. arestus (Jordan, 1931) occurs from Korea, north-eastern China and the Russian Far East across southern Siberia and Mongolia to the Altai (Owada & Kogi, 1992).


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan: 60--80mm. Very similar to Sphinx pinastri in external appearence, although many individuals are tinged with reddish-brown. However, the proboscis is only half as long as it is in Sphinx pinastri (less than 1 cm vs. more than 2 cm in the latter). Even more similar to Sphinx morio morio, the slight differences being: black stripe on tegula narrower, the stripe between it and the wing base duller grey; forewing upperside more uniformly grey, the brown shading on the hind margin less prominent; dark streak behind vein M1, itself faint in Sphinx morio morio, absent or vestigial; apical line fainter.

In the male genitalia, the upper branch of the sacculus is approximately equal to the lower in length, slightly curved, flattened and broad. This is markedly different from that of Sphinx pinastri, where the upper branch is long, curved and cylindrical. Aedeagus with apical groove shorter than in Sphinx morio morio.


Alarmed male Sphinx morio arestus, Livadia, near Anisimovka, Primorskiy Kray, Russian Far East, 16.vii.2014. Photo: © Evgenij Komarov. Male Sphinx morio arestus, Russian Altai, vi.2015. Photo: © Svyatoslav Knyazev.

ADULT BIOLOGY

A species of cool larch (Larix) and pine (Pinus) forests.

According to Litvinchuk (1986), females of Sphinx morio arestus call and mate only during the morning. This behaviour differs from that of Sphinx pinastri and may explain how these two species became reproductively isolated. A similar mechanism isolates Hyles euphorbiae (Linnaeus, 1758) and Hyles tithymali (Boisduval, 1834) (Pittaway, 1995), Hyles euphorbiae and Hyles gallii (von Rottemburg, 1775) (Pittaway & Kitching, 2000) and Smerinthus kindermannii Lederer, 1853 and Smerinthus ocellata ocellata (Linnaeus, 1758) (Pittaway & Kitching, 2000).


FLIGHT-TIME

China: 27.v-8.vi (Shaanxi); 16-18.vi (Heilongjiang); 9.viii (Liaoning). North Korea: v (North Hamgyong Prov.). South Korea: 19.iv (Jiri-san); 4.v (Soku-ri); 1.viii (Baekun-san). Japan: 30.iv (Hahajima). Russia: 16-30.vi (Siberia, Tomsk); 18.vi (Siberia, Chingisy); 26-27.vi (Khabarovskiy Kray); 4.vii (Siberia, Bazoy); 4-24.vii (Amurskaya; Primorskiy Kray); 10.vii-4.viii (Khabarovskiy Kray); 16.vii (Altai); 22-28.vii (Siberia, Chingisy); 24-25.vii (Khabarovskiy Kray); 26.vii-12.viii (Siberia, Novosibirsk); 26.vii-10.viii (Altai); 15.viii (Siberia, Tomsk).

Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt (1998) state that around Novosibirsk (Siberia, Russia) the main flight period is between 18.vi and 28.vii.

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


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Pale green at first, changing to reddish yellow. Oval (1.5 x 2.5mm), slightly dorso-ventrally flattened, shiny and smooth. Each female lays between 100 and 120 eggs, which hatch 13--15 days later (Zhao & Zhang, 1992).

LARVA: Full-fed 54--65mm. Dimorphic: predominantly green or brown. Very similar in both appearence and behaviour to Sphinx pinastri. Found mainly during July and August.


Full-grown larva of Sphinx morio arestus, Transbaikalia, Russia. Photo: © Oleg Korsun

PUPA: 30--40mm. Very similar to that of Sphinx pinastri, except that the free tongue-case is replaced by a small, blunt knob.

Larval hostplants. Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt (1998) state that around Novosibirsk (Siberia, Russia) the main hosts are Pinus sibirica, Pinus sylvestris and species of Abies. Zolotarenko, Petrova & Shiryaev (1978) give Pinus sibirica, Larix sibirica and Larix gmelinii for Siberia. Around Lake Baikal (Siberia) the natural hosts are Larix sibirica and Pinus sibirica (Rozhkov, 1956). In Amurskaya, Russia, recorded from Larix gmelinii and Pinus sylvestris (Streltzov, Osipov & Malikova, 2003).

In the Altai (Russia), this species can be a major pest of Pinus sylvestris, sometimes causing complete defoliation of large areas (Plotnikov & Gninenko, 1980).

Recorded from Heilongjiang, China, (as Hyloicus morio heilongjiangensis) on Abies fabri, Larix gmelinii, Picea asperata, Pinus koraiensis and Pinus sylvestris var. mongolica (Xiao, 1992). A pest of Larix in Heilongjiang (Zhao & Zhang, 1992).

Recorded in Korea on Pinus densiflora, Pinus thunbergii, Picea jezoensis and Larix olgensis var. koreana (Park et al., 1999).


PARASITOIDS

Unknown.


LOCAL DISTRIBUTION

China: Heilongjiang (Dailing Mts; Muling; Lesser Khingan Mts, Fengling Forest); Liaoning (Linjiang); Shaanxi (Taibai Shan, Houzhenzi, 1500m (33°53'N 107°49'E)).

The population in the Taibai Shan of southern Shaanxi Province, China, is isolated from the main population farther to the northeast.

Mongolia.

North Korea: North Hamgyong Prov. (Baekdu-san; Gyungsung; Chongjin).

South Korea: Seoul (Nam-san; Cheongyang-ri); Kyonggi Prov. (Suwon; Suri-san; Gwangleung; Cheonma-san; Chukryong-san; Baekun-san; Asan Bay; Cheonggye-san; Soyo-san); Kangwon Prov. (Seolak-san; Odae-san; Chiak-san; Baekduk-san; Taebek-san; Donghae; Yangyang; Chupungryung; Wolak-san; Songni-san; Minjuji-san; Jeonju; Daedun-san; Jiri-san; Namwon); South Cholla Prov. (Baekyang-san; Gwangyang); South Kyongsang Prov. (Baekun-san; Yeohang-san; Jinju; Pusan; Geoje-do; Goseong; Sacheon; Sancheong; Yangsan; Jinyang; Hadong; Hamyang; Hapcheon).

Japan: Hahajima (Konokiyama); Tsushima (Inoue, 1977).

Russia: Altai (Cherga; Yailyu; Barnaul); Siberia (Krasnoyarsk; Tomsk; Kalinovka; Korolevka; Bazoy; Chingisy; Novosibirsk; Kalinovka); Buryatia (Temnik; Shumilikha (Barguzin Nature Reserve); Baikalskii Nature Reserve; Nizhneangarsk; Verzhnyaya Zaimka; Muya; Verkhnyaya Zaimka; Mondy; Zun-Murino; Vydrino; Taezhnyi; Dabatui; Murochi; Dabatui); Transbaikalia (Lamsky Gorodok; Chita; 20 km N Chita; Mogocha; Tupik; 60 km SE Amazar; Sokhondinskii Nature Reserve (Agutsa, Nizhnii Bukukun); Ur'upino); Amurskaya (Teply; Belogorsk; Blagoveshchensk; Zeiskii nature reserve; Tynda; Ekimchau; Koboldo; Kuravinskoye); Khabarovskiy Kray (Bolshekhekhtsyrskii nature reserve, Khabarovsk suburbs; Nikolayevsk-na-Amure; Kiselevka; Botchinskii Nature Reserve); Primorskiy Kray (Khasan; Vladivostok; Sikhote-Alin, Kamenushka; Teplyi Klyuch; Ussuriysk; Livadia, near Anisimovka); Sakhalin Island.


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

This subspecies occurs from central Russia (Ob' river valley and Krasnoyarsk) (Danner et al., 1998) and the Altai (Plotnikov & Gninenko, 1980), eastward through Mongolia and northeastern China, to Primorskiy Kray, Sakhalin Island, the Korean Peninsula and Tsushima, Japan.

The distribution of this species does not overlap with that of the European Sphinx pinastri, which occurs no farther east than Kurgan in Russia (Zolotarenko, Petrova & Shiryaev, 1978).


Global distribution of Sphinx morio arestus. Map: © NHMUK.

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

Holarctic; eastern Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- Manchurian refugium.



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