Home

 

 
Caterpillars of the World - Brazil
Zebra Sphinx
Isognathus leachi  SWAINSON, 1823
Superfamily - BOMBYCOIDEA
Family - SPHINGIDAE
subfamily - MACROGLOSSINAE
Tribe - DILOPHONOTINI
Isognathus leachi, Fazenda Rancho Grande, Rondonia, Brazil  Adrian Hoskins
Introduction
The family Sphingidae comprises 200 genera and about 1200 known species worldwide, of which about 150 are placed in the tribe Dilophonotini, which has its stronghold in the neotropical region.
Isognathus leachi is found in Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Brazil.
Habitats
This species is found in secondary and primary forest, at elevations between about 200-500m.
Lifecycle
The larval foodplants of this species are Allamanda and Plumieria species ( Apocynaceae ).
The bold pattern and long whip-like tail of the larva sends a clear message to potential predators "leave me alone !". It is an example of aposematic colouration, whereby a prey species conveys to predators a visual warning that it is poisonous or dangerous and not for consumption. Unfortunately in practice it has little effect, as Paul Bertner describes :

"I began snapping away obliviously when our guide Artour spotted the tachinid fly circling around the caterpillar. The extremely long tail of this species appears to serve a defensive function. As the fly landed close to the rear the caterpillar would flick its tail, dislodging the fly to prevent it from ovipositing its eggs. The fly undeterred walked up the body until it was close to the head and out of range of the tail where it began to lay eggs. It seemed to prefer the posterior end of the caterpillar for some reason as it kept on trying to move back there, perhaps laying too close to the front might kill the caterpillar faster and thereby not leave enough time for the larvae to mature, whereas the rear of the caterpillar may not house such vital organs to be destroyed by the larvae. The long orange ovipositor of the fly can be seen quite clearly in the photo. Kanuku mountains, Guyana".

Tachinid fly Winthemia sp, using it's long orange ovipositor to inject eggs into an Isognathus larva in Guyana Paul Bertner
Adult
The adult moth has dark brown forewings, with a bark-like pattern of grey and black streaks. The hindwings are bright orange-yellow, with broad dark brown margins.
 

 

Contact  /  About me

Butterfly-watching holidays

Trip reports

UK latest sightings

Frequently asked questions

Strange but true !

Taxonomy & Evolution

Anatomy

Lifecycle

Enemies of butterflies

Survival strategies

Migration & dispersal

Habitats - UK / Palaearctic

Habitats - Tropical rainforests

Butterfly world census

Butterflies of the World :

British Isles

Europe

Amazon & Andes

North America

temperate Asia

Africa

Indian subcontinent

Malaysia & Borneo

Papua New Guinea

Australia & N.Z.

Insects of Britain & Europe

Insects of Amazonia

Moths of the Andes

Saturniidae - Silkmoths

Caterpillars of the World

Butterfly Photography

Recommended Books

Glossary

Links

Code of practice

Copyright - text & images

Copyright - text & images

X

X

X

X

 

All photographs, artwork, text & website design are the property of Adrian Hoskins ( unless otherwise stated ) and are protected by Copyright. Photographs or text on this website must not be reproduced in part or in whole or published elsewhere without prior written consent of Adrian Hoskins / learnaboutbutterflies.com

Site hosted by Just Host