Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Orig. Comb: Sphinx ficus Linnaeus
Explanation of Names
ficus is Latin for "fig", the hostplant.
4 3/4 - 5 1/2 inches (12 - 14 cm) wingspan. (2)
"Forewing upperside is orangish brown with a paler patch along the costa at the tip. Hindwing upperside is orange to orangish brown with a black outer border, a black median band, and a white spot on the outer margin near the body." (2)
Caterpillars vary widely in coloration. If diagonal stripes are present they are unusual for sphinx moths in that they slope away from the tail end, not up towards it. Caterpillars may undergo a dramatic color change (green with orange back) prior to pupation.
AZ, TX, FL / Strays north to Indiana and Pennsylvania / Mexico south to Uruguay / West Indies (2)
"Several flights throughout the year in the tropics, peninsular Florida, and South Texas." (2)
Caterpillar hosts: Various species of fig (Ficus).
Adult food: Flower nectar. (2)
Caterpillar also reported on Mango.
"Adults begin feeding before sunset. Caterpillars pupate in cocoons spun in litter on the ground." (2)
Type Locality: America
First reported specifically from the US by Morris (1862) from Captain John Pope's Texas-Mexico Boundary Survey in the early 1850's.
Morris, J.G. 1862. Synopsis of the Described Lepidoptera of North America. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 358 pp. Full Text
Silkmoths by Bill Oehlke
- many color morphs of the caterpillar shown as well as adult images
Systema naturae, 10th ed., v.2, p.491
Linnaeus' original description of the species (in Latin).