SPHECODINA CAUDATA (Bremer & Grey, 1852)

Female Sphecodina caudata. Photo: © NHMUK Male Sphecodina caudata. Photo: © NHMUK

TAXONOMY

Macroglossa caudata Bremer & Grey, 1853, in Motschulsky (ed.), Etudes ent. 1: 62. Type locality: [China,] Pekin [Beijing].

Synonym. Macroglossa caudata Bremer & Grey, 1853.

Synonym. Sphecodina caudata angulifascia (Mell, 1922).

Synonym. Sphecodina caudata meridionalis Mell, 1922.

Synonym. Sphecodina caudata angulilimbata Clark, 1923.

Note. The population in northern Thailand has been split off and described as a new species, namely Sphecodina antonkozlovi Haxaire, 2021, this being based based on a single male collected in March 1988 at a fruit trap on Doi Inthanon, Chiang Mai Province. This population is very isolated from the main populations of Sphecodina caudata farther north in China. It is separated from Sphecodina caudata by its larger size, darker pattern and genital structure (Haxaire, 2021).


ADULT DESCRIPTION AND VARIATION

Wingspan: 62--67mm. Distal margin of forewing even, slightly concave anteriorly and posteriorly, neither deep bisinuate nor lobed. Abdomen more broadly tufted at end than in the North American Sphecodina abbotti (Swainson, 1821).


Female Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Female Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Female Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway.

ADULT BIOLOGY

A diurnal species in the Russian Far East, flying mainly in the morning (08.00-10.00am) around meadows in mixed coniferous/deciduous and deciduous woodland, particularly those characterized by Quercus mongolica (Izerskiy, 1999b; Dubatolov, pers. comm. 2010). Frequents the flowers of Rhododendron schlippenbachii Maxim., although males are also attracted to excrement (Koshkin, 2013), even urine (Koshkin & Bezborodov, 2019). Hovering swarms of males can easily be mistaken for hornets.


Males of Sphecodina caudata feeding from bear excrement, Lazo District, Khabarovskiy Kray, Russian Far East, vi.2007. Photo: © A. S. Batalov. Male of Sphecodina caudata feeding from bear excrement, Lazo District, Khabarovskiy Kray, Russian Far East, vi.2007. Photo: © A. S. Batalov. Sphecodina caudata feeding from tree exudate, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan, Zhejiang, China, 2019. Photo: © JiongAo Yang. Sphecodina caudata feeding from tree exudate, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan, Zhejiang, China, 2019. Photo: © JiongAo Yang.

FLIGHT-TIME

China: i-iii (Guangdong); v (Chongqing; Shandong; Beijing); vi (Zhejiang); vi-vii (Guangdong); viii (Guangdong). Russia: 12.v-vi (Primorskiy Kray); 29.v-10.vii (Khabarovskiy Kray); 19.vii (Primorskiy Kray).

An early species which Mell (1935) recorded as having two generations in Guangdong.

Park et al. (1999) give June and July as the flight period in Korea.


EARLY STAGES

OVUM: Unrecorded.

LARVA: Full-fed 39--42mm. Has two main colour forms - green and brown, and grey. The pale, young larvae resemble sawflies and will curl up into a spiral if disturbed; larger larvae will do the same. When ready to pupate larvae undergo a dramatic colour change, becoming brown with large orange patches down the side. When wandering on the ground they respond to threats in an equally dramatic way. Curling into a spiral they raise the anal segments. Viewed laterally, this creates a very good impression of a small viper.

This species shows a preference for clumps of Parthenocissus growing over large bolders, walls and rockfaces, usually within woodland clearings or along woodland edges (Pittaway, pers obs. 2016).


Fourth instar larva of Sphecodina caudata, Jade Emperor Hill, West Lake, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 11.ix.2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Fourth instar larva of Sphecodina caudata, near Kalinovka, Primorskiy Kray, Russian Far East. Photo: © Anton Kozlov Fourth instar larva of Sphecodina caudata in defensive posture, Jade Emperor Hill, West Lake, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 11.ix.2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Early final instar larva of Sphecodina caudata, Bychikha, Khabarovskiy Kray, Russian Far East, 09.vii.2011. Photo: © S. Ivanov Full-grown green form larva of Sphecodina caudata, near Kalinovka, Primorskiy Kray, Russian Far East, 19.vii.2011. Photo: © Anton Kozlov Full-grown green form larva of Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, 14.ix.2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Full-grown green form larva of Sphecodina caudata. Image: Mell, 1922b Full-grown green form larva of Sphecodina caudata, Beijing, China. Photo: © Yen ShenHorn Full-grown grey form larva of Sphecodina caudata, Lazo District, Khabarovskiy Kray, Russian Far East, 25.vii.2011. Photo: © E. S. Koshkin. Full-grown early pre-pupation larva of Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Full-grown early pre-pupation larva of Sphecodina caudata. Image: Mell, 1922b Full-grown late pre-pupation larva of Sphecodina caudata, Lazo District, Khabarovskiy Kray, Russian Far East, 28.vii.2011. Photo: © A. S. Batalov.

PUPA: 43--45mm.


Pupa of Sphecodina caudata. Image: Mell, 1922b Pupa of Sphecodina caudata. Image: Mell, 1922b Pupa of Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Pupa of Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Pupa of Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway.

Larval hostplants. Vitis amurensis in the Russian Far East (Izerskiy, 1999b; Anton Kozlov, pers. comm. 2011; Koshkin, 2013). In China, usually on Parthenocissus tricuspidata, Ampelopsis brevipedunculata and the introduced Parthenocissus quinquefolia growing over bolders and up walls and cliffs (Pittaway, pers. obs. 2004, 2016). These hosts are also utilized in the Russian Far East, as are commercial grapes (Koshkin, 2013).


Typical larval habitat of Sphecodina caudata, Founding Zen Monastery, Houshanmen, West Tianmu Shan/Xitianmu Shan (near Lin'an), Zhejiang, China, September 2016. Photo: © Tony Pittaway. Typical larval habitat of Sphecodina caudata (with Tony Pittaway), Jade Emperor Hill, West Lake, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China, 11.ix.2016. Photo: © Qiaoqiao Zhang.

PARASITOIDS

Tachinid fly (Blepharipa sp.) reared from a pupa, Mt. Huang Shan, Anhui, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway

LOCAL DISTRIBUTION

China: Beijing (Baihua Shan; Haidian); Shandong (Qingdao; Weihai; Yantai); Henan; Anhui (Mt. Huang Shan); Zhejiang (Tianmu Shan; Hangzhou); Hubei; Sichuan (Xiling Xueshan National Park); Chongqing (Chongqing; Simianshan); Yunnan (Yanmen); Fujian (Fuzhou); Guangdong (E. Nan Ling; Guangzhou).

North Korea: North Hamgyong Prov. (Jueul, 1500m).

South Korea: Kyonggi Prov. (Gwangleung); Kangwon Prov. (Hwacheon; Gyebang-san); South Cholla Prov. (Baekyang Temple); North Kyongsang Prov. (Juwang-san).

Russia: Amurskaya (Arkhara District, Khingan Nature Reserve, 3km W of Kundur); Khabarovskiy Kray (Bolshekhekhtsyrskii Nature Reserve, Khabarovsk suburbs; Bychikha; Durmin River, Lazo District; Vyazemsky District; Sysoevsky Utes); Primorskiy Kray (Anisimovka; Primorskiy; Rettikhovka: Barabash-Levada; Vladivostok; Narva; Kalinovka; Anuchino; near Kalinovka; Gornotayezhnoye; Brovnichi; Tigrovyi; Kedrovaya Pad' Nature Reserve; Lazovsky Nature Reserve; Andreevka; Golubinyi Utes; Pozhiga Village, Dalnerechensk District; Khasan).


GLOBAL DISTRIBUTION

The southern Russian Far East as far north as the Amur Oblast (Koshkin & Bezborodov, 2019), the Korean Peninsula, eastern and southern China.

An isolated population in northern Thailand, formally included within Sphecodina caudata, has been described as a new species (Haxaire, 2021).

A closely related species occurs under similar climatic conditions in eastern North America.


Global distribution of Sphecodina caudata. Map: © NHMUK.

BIOGEOGRAPHICAL AFFILIATION



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