Hyles hawaiiensis (Rothschild & Jordan)

Hawaiian Sphinx Moth (Hyles hawaiiensis)

The Hawaiian Sphinx Moth was originally thought to be a subspecies of the Maui-nui Sphinx Moth (Hyles calida (Butler)) which itself occurs on the islands of Lana’i, Maui, Moloka’i and O’ahu; the population of the island of Kaua’i is now known to constitute another, not yet described, distinct species. [1]

The moth reaches a wingspan of slightly over 6 cm, males and females are superficially identical.

The larvae of these genus were thought to be quite polyphagous, however, it is now known that they feed exclusively on the endemic members of the Coffee family (Rubiaceae) including Bobea spp., Coprosma spp.Gardenia spp.Kadua spp., and Psychotria spp..


The Hawaiian Sphinx Moth has not been recorded in recent years and is now believed to be extinct. 



[1] Elwood C. Zimmerman: Insects of Hawaii 7; Macrlepidoptera. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu 1958
[2] Daniel Rubinoff; Michael San Jose; Anna K. Hundsdoerfer: Cryptic diversity in a vagile Hawaiian moth group suggests cmplex factors drive diversification. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 152. 2020



Photo: The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London

(under creative commons license (3.0))


edited: 04.11.2020