HYLOICUS MORIO Rothschild & Jordan, 1903

Hyloicus morio Rothschild & Jordan, 1903, Novit. zool. 9 (suppl.): 147. Type locality: Japan.


UK: Asian Pine Hawkmoth; Larch Hawkmoth

Hyloicus pinastri arestus Jordan, 1931, Novit. zool. 36: 244--245.

Type locality: Amurland and Ussuri [Russian Far East].

(Taxonomic note. Hyloicus morio is now recognized as a species distinct from Hyloicus pinastri (Linnaeus, 1758), with two subspecies. Subsp. morio Rothschild & Jordan, 1903 inhabits Hokkaido, and central and northern Honshu, Japan (Owada & Kogi, 1992); subsp. arestus Jordan, 1931 occurs from Korea, north-eastern China and the Russian Far East across southern Siberia and Mongolia to the Altai (Owada & Kogi, 1992).


Holarctic; eastern Palaearctic region. Pleistocene refuge: Monocentric -- Manchurian.


Adult Hyloicus morio arestus, Muling, Heilongjiang, China. Photo: © Tony Pittaway, IZAS.

Wingspan: 60--80mm. Very similar to Hyloicus pinastri in external appearence, although many individuals are tinged with reddish-brown. However, the proboscis is only half as long as it is in Hyloicus pinastri (less than 1 cm vs. more than 2 cm in the latter).

In the male genitalia, the upper branch of the sacculus is approximately equal to the lower in length, slightly curved, flattened and broad. This is markedly different from that of Hyloicus pinastri, where the upper branch is long, curved and cylindrical.

Male Hyloicus morio arestus, Russian Altai, vi.2015. Photo: © Svyatoslav Knyazev.


A species of cool larch (Larix) and pine (Pinus) forests.

According to Litvinchuk (1986), Hyloicus morio mates only during the morning. This differs from the behaviour of Hyloicus pinastri and, if confirmed by further studies, may explain how these two species remain reproductively isolated. A similar mechanism keeps Hyles euphorbiae (Linnaeus, 1758) and Hyles tithymali (Boisduval, 1834) isolated. Owada & Kogi (1992) were of the opinion that subsp. morio flies at daybreak in Japan.


Usually univoltine; mid June to late July. Occasionally, there is a partial second generation in August.


OVUM: Oval and slightly dorso-ventrally flattened (2.5 x 1.5mm); shiny pale green at first, changing to reddish yellow. Each female lays between 100 and 120 eggs, which hatch 13--15 days later (Zhao & Zhang, 1992).

LARVA: Full-fed 54--65mm. Dimorphic: predominantly green or brown.

Full-grown larva of Hyloicus morio arestus, Transbaikalia, Russia. Photo: © Oleg Korsun

Very similar in both appearence and behaviour to Hyloicus pinastri. Found mainly during July and August.

Hostplants. Various species of Pinus and Larix, particularly Pinus sibirica, Pinus sylvestris, Larix sibirica and Larix gmelinii (syn. Larix dahurica) in Siberia (Zolotarenko, Petrova & Shiryaev, 1978). In the Altai, this species can be a major pest of Pinus sylvestris, sometimes causing complete defoliation of large areas (Plotnikov & Gninenko, 1980).

PUPA: 30--35mm. Very similar to that of Hyloicus pinastri, except that the free tongue-case is replaced by a blunt knob.


None recorded.


In the western palaearctic, confined to the Altai Mountains (Plotnikov & Gninenko, 1980; Izerskiy, 1999; Knyazev, 2023) and foothills north to Omsk and Tomsk. Recorded localities are Bazoi, Tomsk, Chingisy, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Kalinovka, Korolevka, Barnaul, Yailyu and Souzga (Zolotarenko, Petrova & Shiryaev, 1978; Knyazev, 2020; Knyazev, 2023).

The distribution of this species does not overlap with that of Hyloicus pinastri, which occurs no farther east than Kurgan (Zolotarenko, Petrova & Shiryaev, 1978) and Gorky (Izerskiy, 1999).

Extra-limital range. From the Altai Mountains across southern Siberia and Mongolia to the Russian Far East, north-eastern China and Korea. There is also an isolated population in the Qingling Mountains of Shaanxi Province, China, at around 1500m altitude.


Hokkaido, and central and northern Honshu, Japan, as subsp. morio (Owada & Kogi, 1992).

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