Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Tantalus sphinx
Aellopos tantalus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Family: Sphingidae
Subfamily: Macroglossinae
Identification: Body is reddish brown with a wide white band across the abdomen. Forewing upperside is reddish brown with a black cell spot and 3 white spots near the gray marginal area. A pale streak runs from the cell spot to the inner margin of the wing. Hindwing upperside is dark brown.
Wing Span: 1 3/4 - 2 1/4 inches (4.5 - 5.7 cm).
Life History: Adults emerge in the morning and fly during the day with a rapid flight. Females lay eggs on the host plant in the late afternoon. Young caterpillars eat new leaf growth and more mature caterpillars eat both new and older growth. Caterpillars pupate in loose cocoons in the leaf litter.
Flight: . All year in the tropics and Florida.
Caterpillar Hosts: Seven year apple (Casasia clusiifolia) in the madder family (Rubiaceae).
Adult Food: Nectar from flowers including white stopper (Eugenia axillaris) and lantana.
Habitat: Tropical and subtropical lowlands.
Range: Paraguay north through Central America, Mexico, and the West Indies to Florida. There is one record each from New York and southern Michigan.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL
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