Monday, April 19, 2010

Sinister sphinxes?

Hyles (Rommeliana) sammuti Eitschberger, Danner & Surholt, 1998 -
Buskett 11.XI.2009

This is the larva (caterpillar) of an endemic moth from one of the most aesthetically pleasing families in the Lepidoptera, namely the Sphingidae. Before its description in 1998, Maltese specimens belonging to Hyles sammuti Eitschberger, Danner & Surholt, 1998 were thought to belong to Hyles euphorbiae (L., 1758), a common Mediterranean species, due to similar morphology and habitat.

An adult specimen of H. sammuti may be seen below, this photograph is taken from the excellent Sphingidae of the Western Palearctic website.

The sphingids found on the Maltese islands also count amongst their ranks the infamous Acherontia atropos, (L. 1758) - undoubtedly the most famous lepidopteran amongst cinema buffs worldwide.

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