SPHINX CALIGINEUS CALIGINEUS (Butler, 1877) -- Chinese Pine hawkmoth

Female Sphinx caligineus caligineus. Photo: © BMNH Male Sphinx caligineus caligineus. Photo: © BMNH


Hyloicus caligineus Butler, 1877, Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (4) 20: 393. Type locality: [Japan, Honshu, Kanagawa,] Yokohama.

Synonym. Hyloicus caligineus Butler, 1877.


Very similar to Sphinx pinastri, but differs in the following: hindwing less elongate; antenna proportionately longer; foretibia with fewer spines; midtibia with no spines other than sometimes some minute apical ones; hindtarsal first segment shorter than hindtibia, as long as segments 2-5 together; hindtibia with long apical spur less than half the length of first hindtarsal segment. Darker brown than Sphinx caligineus sinicus, which is more grey-brown, and Sphinx caligineus brunnescens, which is intermediate.

Male genitalia similar to that of Sphinx pinastri, but: uncus longer and much narrower; gnathos sinuate, more obviously so than in Sphinx caligineus sinicus, not completely divided mesially; valve more rounded; harpe with both processes shorter, the dorsal one branching from the dorsal margin of the other and longer than in Sphinx caligineus sinicus, curving dorsad apically; aedeagus with apical process longer, much longer than in Sphinx caligineus sinicus. In the female genitalia, ostial plate with lobe proximal to ostium longer and narrower than in Sphinx pinastri, but individually variable.

Resting Sphinx caligineus caligineus, Japan. Photo: © Osamu Fukuda.



Japan: 8.v-5.vi (Honshu); 8.vii-28.viii (Honshu).


OVUM: Undescribed.

LARVA: Full-fed 75--80mm. Fully grown, larvae are always green with a broad brown dorsal band bearing an 'eye-like' patch per segment. There are three cream or white lateral stripes, the white dorso-lateral and more yellow ventro-lateral ones being particularly bold: ventral surface and anal claspers brown. The lateral pale line (in the green area) is less pronounced, broken, and often edged below with black streaks which, in some larvae, may join up to form a solid black line. The whole body, which is slender and of even thickness (cylindrical), has dark, sunken, encircling lines, apparently dividing it up into narrow rings behind a large, prominent head. The body is smooth, but not glossy, unlike the head, underside, legs and shield. Head brown, with dark and pale yellow vertical cheek stripes. Shield also striped dark and pale. Horn thin, almost black, and warty; evenly curved.

This is in distinct contrast to the larva of Sphinx caligineus sinicus (Rothschild & Jordan, 1903), which is always grey-brown, indicating that the two taxa may be distinct species and not just subspecies.

Fourth instar larva of Sphinx caligineus caligineus, near Saitama-shi, Honshu, Japan. Photo: © Takahiro Yano. Final instar larva of Sphinx caligineus caligineus, near Saitama-shi, Honshu, Japan. Photo: © Takahiro Yano. Final instar larva of Sphinx caligineus caligineus, near Saitama-shi, Honshu, Japan. Photo: © Takahiro Yano.

PUPA: Undescribed.

Larval hostplants. Various species of Pinus.


Tachinidae: Drino atropivora (Robineau-Desvoidy); Scelionidae: Telenomus dendrolimi (Matsumura).


Japan: Hokkaido; Honshu (Komaba; Yokohama; Tokyo; Kobe; Gifu; Fushiki; Nagahama; Tokei-ji; Tsuruga; Goshikinuma; Mt. Akagi; Ogimachi; Akita; Fujisawa; Aone; Fukushima; Hatamachi; Minami-Kiso; Nagamine Sakusi; Tobira Spa; Bushi; Unazuki); Shikoku; Kyushu.


Endemic to Japan. Records from elsewhere are the result of misidentifications.

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


Return to Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic species list
© A.R. Pittaway & I.J. Kitching (The Natural History Museum, London)