FAMILY SPHINGIDAE
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Macroglossum Scopoli

Type species: stellatarum Linnaeus.

Synonyms: Psithyros Hubner and Bombylia Hubner (type species stellatarum); Macroglossa Boisduval (type species
milvus Boisduval; Reunion I.); Rhamphoschisma Wallengren (type species fasciatum Wallengren = trochilus Hubner, S. Africa).

The genus contains the distinctive 'humming-bird hawks'. The forewings are narrow, grey to dark grey or black, with transverse, often sinuous fasciae. The hindwings are usually blackish with a broad yellow or orange medial to subbasal band. Thorax and abdomen are very broad, the latter rather flattened, terminating in a fan of scales, often with further scale tufts laterally; the abdomen often has lateral and subventral yellow or white patches. The male genitalia are typically macroglossine but the aedeagus vesica has two large, often rod-like cornuti, and there are no friction scales on the exterior of the valve.

Flight is diurnal, crepuscular or nocturnal, the species hovering in front of flowers whilst taking nectar with the tongue. The species are mobile, many migratory, with specimens frequently taken at sea.

The larvae usually have a dorsolateral band, sometimes oblique bars laterally on the abdomen, but never ocellar markings. The pupa has a keeled tongue case. Host-plants are mainly from the family Rubiaceae.

The genus is extremely diverse in the Indo-Australian tropics, well represented in the Malagasy Region, but with only a single Afrotropical and Palaearctic species (D'Abrera, 1986: 158). Australian species have been reviewed by Moulds (1985). The genus is currently being studied by W. Hogenes of Amsterdam.

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