DEILEPHILA RIVULARIS (Boisduval, [1875])

GB: Chitral Elephant Hawkmoth

Choerocampa rivularis Boisduval, [1875], in Boisduval & Guenée, Hist. nat. Insectes (Spec. gen. Lepid. Heteroceres) 1: 280.

Type locality: Simla, India.

(Taxonomic notes. (i) Kernbach (1958) regarded this species as a subspecies of Deilephila elpenor (Linnaeus, 1758), an opinion he shared with many others. However, Ebert (1974) provided convincing evidence that Deilephila rivularis is a valid species.

(ii) The LECTOTYPE is a female in the Carnegie Museum, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, USA, bearing two labels. One states 'rivularis B, Darjiling', the other 'epilobis BV, Simlah'. In his explicit description of Deilephila rivularis, Boisduval stated quite clearly that this specimen was from Simlah [Simla], but added that a second specimen was reared by a Captain Shervill from an 'elpenor-like' larva collected at Darjeeling. The latter was probably the source of the incorrect labelling. The correct type locality is therefore 'Simlah [Simla]'. Deilephila rivularis does not occur farther east than Uttar Pradesh, India. The individual raised by Capt. Shervill was Deilephila elpenor macromera (Butler, 1875).)


Holarctic; western Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- Sindian refuge.


Male Deilephila rivularis. Photo: © NHMUK. Faded Deilephila rivularis, Mussoorie, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Wingspan: 64--82mm. Very like Deilephila elpenor, but with the rosy red parts of the body and wings more heavily suffused with cinnamon, the red coloration being less bright than in Deilephila elpenor, especially on the wings. Marginal area of hindwing broad. In the male genitalia, the processes of the sacculi are bent claw-like and strongly sclerotized. Aedeagus anteriorly with a noticeably strong, subapical, oblique, dentate ridge, much more so than in Deilephila elpenor. Even the single cornutus is more pronounced.


Nothing known, except that it tends to occur at 2000--4000m.


Bivoltine; February/March, and late June and July, so far as known.


OVUM: Small (1.20 x 1.05mm), oval, with a dorsal depression, clear green. Changes to yellowish green before hatching.

LARVA: Full-fed, 60--80mm. Dimorphic: brown and green.

As Deilephila elpenor (Bell & Scott, 1937), but larger and horn of full-grown larvae totally white.

Full-grown larva of Deilephila rivularis, Himachal Pradesh, India. Photo: © Robert Tanner.

Hostplants. Arisaema and Impatiens in India (Bell & Scott, 1937).


Pupa of Deilephila rivularis, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, 2018. Photo: © Tony Pittaway, leg. Serge Yevdoshenko.




Eastern Afghanistan (Safed Koh Mountains, Kotkai) at 2350m (Ebert, 1974) and central Afghanistan (Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998), and Pakistan as far south as Karachi (Bell & Scott, 1937; Ebert, 1974; Rafi et al., 2014; Humairah Hanif et al., 2016).

Extra-limital range. Northern India as far east as Dehra Dun, Uttar Pradesh, and Nepal: several localities are given for Himachal Pradesh, India, by Sidhu & Nair (2017). Records from Sikkim are almost certainly erroneous, even though there is a specimen in the Natural History Museum, London, attributed to this locality.

Return to species list