SPHINX CENTROSINARIA Kitching & Jin, 1998

Male Sphinx centrosinaria, Wumeng Shan, 20km N Baoshan village, Yunnan, China. Photo: © NHMUK. Male Sphinx centrosinaria, Ya'an, Sichuan, China. HOLOTYPE. Photo: © Ian Kitching.

TAXONOMY

Sphinx centrosinaria Kitching & Jin, 1998, Tinea 15: 275. Type locality: China, Sichuan, Ya'an.


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan: 76mm. In general colour and maculation, Sphinx centrosinaria is almost identical to Sphinx crassistriga (Rothschild & Jordan, 1903) from Japan. However, Sphinx centrosinaria can be readily distinguished by its more elongate and apically pointed forewing. Furthermore, Sphinx centrosinaria is a larger moth (RFWL = 33mm) than either nominotypical Sphinx crassistriga from Honshu (RFWL = 29mm) or the northern subspecies, Sphinx crassistriga aino Kishida (1990), from Hokkaido (RFWL = 26-28mm). The harpe of Sphinx centrosinaria is also quite similar to that of Sphinx crassistriga aino. However, in this latter taxon, the ventral lobe is much less well-developed than it is in Sphinx centrosinaria, being reduced to a short, blunt, triangular point. The harpe of Sphinx crassistriga crassistriga is even less like that of Sphinx centrosinaria, having an acutely pointed dorsal lobe and a ventral lobe that is reduced to a small, sharp point. Kitching & Jin (1998) considered that these structural differences, together with the immense distance between the ranges of these two taxa (over 3000km), justified treating Sphinx centrosinaria as a species, rather than as a subspecies of Sphinx crassistriga.

In its elongate forewing, Sphinx centrosinaria resembles Sphinx formosana Riotte (1970) from Taiwan. However, Sphinx centrosinaria lacks the general dusting of pale grey scales over the forewing upperside of Sphinx formosana (which reduces the pattern contrast in this species), while the shape of the harpe of Sphinx formosana is quite different from that of Sphinx centrosinaria.


ADULT BIOLOGY

Nothing known except that males are drawn to light.


FLIGHT-TIME

China: 19.vi (Xingou); 27.vi-2.vii (Ya'an); vii (Dechang).


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Unknown.

LARVA: Unknown.

PUPA: Unknown.

Larval hostplants. Unknown, but most probably Pinaceae.


PARASITOIDS

Unknown.


LOCAL DISTRIBUTION

China: Sichuan (Ya'an; Abulandan Shan, near Dechang; Xingou); Yunnan (Mianmian Shan, 20Km W Lake Lugu; Wumeng Shan, 20km N Baoshan village); Xizang/Tibet (Motuo National Park, near Medog; ?Mutu, Namjagbarwa region, 850m)


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

Endemic to Sichuan, Yunnan and Xizang/Tibet (Thierry Vaglia, pers. comm. 2007), southern China.

Part of the relict eastern Palaearctic fauna of montane southwest China. Closely related species are found in Japan (Sphinx crassistriga Rothschild & Jordan, 1903) and Taiwan (Sphinx formosana Riotte, 1970).


Global distribution of Sphinx centrosinaria. Map: © NHMUK.

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION

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



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