SPHINX CALIGINEUS BRUNNESCENS (Mell, 1922)

Female Sphinx caligineus brunnescens. Photo: © BMNH

TAXONOMY

Sphinx caligineus brunnescens Mell, 1922, Dt. ent. Z. 1922: 113. Type locality: China, north Yunnan, montane forest.

Note. Mell (1922a) described brown specimens of Sphinx caligineus from northern Yunnan as Sphinx caligineus brunnescens, a subspecies that was confined to montane forests. Later, however, he referred specimens from northern Guangdong and southern Hunan to this subspecies (Mell, 1922b) and stated that Sphinx caligineus brunnescens was intermediate ('ein Mittelglied') between the dark brown Sphinx caligineus caligineus (Butler) from Japan and the paler grey Sphinx caligineus sinicus (Rothschild & Jordan) from 'Zocé' (= Sheshan), Zhejiang. On 30.vi.1995, the first author captured a specimen of Sphinx caligineus at Hangzhou (Zhejiang) that was transitional in colour between Sphinx caligineus sinicus and Sphinx caligineus brunnescens. In addition, there is a brown female in the IZAS from nearby Sheshan (Zhejiang) (the type locality of Sphinx caligineus sinicus) that matches the description of Sphinx caligineus brunnescens, while grey specimens of Sphinx caligineus have been captured at 2250m in northern Yunnan. We therefore consider it likely that Sphinx caligineus brunnescens is simply a colour form of Sphinx caligineus sinicus, analogous to the brown forms that exist in the European species, Sphinx pinastri Linnaeus. However, this matter cannot be fully resolved until the types of Sphinx caligineus brunnescens have been examined.

Note. No type material for this taxon could be found in CMNH or MNHU; specimens labelled 'type' in CMNH or 'paratype' in MNHU do not have appropriate data. Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998, Herbipoliana 4(1): 58, erronously gave the type-locality as 'Bergwälder im Norden der provinz Kuangtung'.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION


ADULT BIOLOGY


FLIGHT-TIME

China: 2.vi (Zhejiang); 15.vii (Hunan); vii-ix (Yunnan).


EARLY STAGES

OVUM:

LARVA:


Final instar larva of Sphinx caligineus brunnescens. Image: Mell, 1922b Final instar larva of Sphinx caligineus brunnescens. Photo: Mell, 1922b

PUPA:


Pupa of Sphinx caligineus brunnescens. Image: Mell, 1922b Pupa of Sphinx caligineus brunnescens. Image: Mell, 1922b

Larval hostplants.


PARASITOIDS


LOCAL DISTRIBUTION

China: Zhejiang (Sheshan); Sichuan (Yibin); Yunnan (north); Hunan (Nan Ling Shan, 750m); Guangdong.


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

Endemic to central and southern China.


Global distribution of Sphinx caligineus brunnescens. Map: © BMNH.

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION



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