GB: Western Foxtail-lily Hawkmoth, RU: Aeremurosovyi BrazhnikDeilephila siehei Püngeler, 1903, Berl. ent. Z. 47: 235.
Type locality: Bulghar Dagh [Bolkar Daglari, Toros Mountains, Turkey].
(Taxonomic note. On the basis of genetic studies, the former 'subspecies' centralasiae, which occurs from northeastern Iran, southern Turkmenistan, mountainous eastern Uzbekistan, mountainous parts of southern Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to northern and eastern Afghanistan, northern Xinjiang Province, China, western Pakistan and Mongolia, is now regarded as a separate, distinct species (Hundsdoerfer et al., 2009).)
Holarctic; western Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- Pontomediterranean refuge.
Wingspan: 65--70mm. Central gap in the oblique median stripe of forewing (very apparent in H. centralasiae) much reduced, or absent. Most also have a distinct rosy hue to both wings and body.
Apparently confined to the upper elevations of Anatolia, and the eastern Toros and Bolkar Mountains in southern Turkey, to parts of northern Syria, and to the Zagros Mountains of Iran, where it is found in similar locations to H. centralasiae, i.e. rocky, herb-rich steppe.
Univoltine, so far as known; late May and June.
OVUM: Almost spherical, 1--1.3mm; blue-green when freshly laid, becoming yellowish as the larva inside develops. Laid indiscriminately on the seed- and flower-heads of the hostplant, with up to fifteen per plant. This stage lasts 5--6 days (Pelzer, 1982).
LARVA: Full-fed, 70--80mm. Polymorphic: brownish grey, off-white, greenish olive or black.
Early instars as H. centralasiae. In the final instar, most larvae are pale brownish grey with a rose dorsal suffusion. The very large, single, dorso-lateral eye-spots are brilliant white and heavily ringed with black. The spiracles are also white, but ringed with red. The white speckling and the ventro-lateral stripe are absent (Pelzer, 1982). In black larvae, the eye-spots may be very reduced or absent.
The larvae feed quite openly on the seed- and flower-heads of their hostplant, alternating bouts of frenzied feeding with spells of basking.
Occurs mainly during June and July.
Major Hostplants. The seed- and flowerheads of Asphodelus (Pelzer, 1982; Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998; de Freina, 2012); the leaves are rarely eaten. Also Asphodeline.
Minor Hostplants. The seed- and flower-heads of Eremurus, such as E. himalaicus, E. olgae, E. robustus, E. krudica and E. stenophyllus (Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998). [In gardens and captivity this subspecies will accept Kniphofia as a hostplant, as well as all cultivated forms of Eremurus.]
PUPA: 40--50mm. As H. euphorbiae, but paler. Many spend several years in this stage.
None recorded, but the below species (?Masicera sphingivora) emerged from a pupa in 2012.
The eastern Toros and Bolkar Mountains of southern Turkey north to Ankara (Daniel, 1932; de Freina, 2012), eastern Turkey, Armenia (Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998), northern Syria, northern Iraq and northern Iran. Thence probably south along the Zagros Mountains of Iran to Kerman Province, from where one specimen has been recorded (Zahiri, pers. comm. 2007).
Extra-limital range. None.
Lowland southern Kazakhstan, from the shores of the Caspian Sea across to the Chinese border, southern Uzbekistan and northern Turkmenistan as subsp. H. s. svetlana.