FAMILY SPHINGIDAE
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Hippotion boerhaviae Fabricius 
Sphinx boerhaviae Fabricius, 1775, Syst. Ent., p. 542
Hippotion boerhaviae Fabricius; Rothschild & Jordan


Hippotion boerhaviae
(.83 natural size)


Diagnosis.
See Hippotion echeclus Boisduval. The forewings of the next species are deeper, marginally more bowed, usually with a darkish shading anteriorly at about two thirds. In boerhaviae the forewing shape is more as in echeclus but the hindwing lacks a black basal zone, the forewing is more strongly banded (though lacking the discal shading of rosetta). The most reliable distinguishing feature for boerhaviae and rosetta is in the male genitalia: in the former the juxta is short, distally rounded to obtusely triangular; in the latter the juxta is long, distally acutely triangular. Other differences in the male genitalia are illustrated by Dupont & Roepke (1941).

Taxonomic notes. Dupont & Roepke (1941) showed that there were two very similar species flying in Java. The morphological characteristics distinguishing them have just been described; larval differences in Java are mentioned below. Dissection of material from extremes of the range have shown that the juxta character is reliable throughout.

A number of names have been placed in synonymy with boerhaviae (e.g in Rothschild & Jordan, 1903). The types of boerhaviae, minus Fabricius, and vampyrus Fabricius are probably lost (Zimsen, 1964, The Type Material of I.C. Fabricius) as may be that of octopunctala Gmelin. It is unclear from the original illustration of pinastrina Martyn whether this refers to boerhaviae or echeclus; it lacks black basally on the hindwing and hence is perhaps best placed in synonymy with boerhaviae, which should be fixed on the species indicated by Dupont & Roepke, with minus, octopunctata and vampyris also as synonyms. The holotype of rosetta Swinhoe (UM Oxford) has been examined and shows that name to be a senior synonym of depictum Dupont & Roepke

Geographical range. Japan, Indo-Australian tropics to New Caledonia

Habitat preference. This species is very much less frequent than the next in Borneo. Two specimens were taken on G. Kinabalu at Bundu Tuhan and Kundasan at just over 1000m. All other material referred to by Holloway (1976) and Harman (1981) is of the species. 

Biology. Dupont & Roepke (1941) only noted black larvae for this species. They have large ocellar markings on A1 with a black centre, white spotted, and ringed reddish brown and black. The remaining abdominal segments have smaller ocelli, greyish black ringed with black. There is a dorsolateral line over the thorax, continued as a row of white dots above the ocelli over the abdominal segments. The long horn is black, reddish at the base and white-tipped.

Dupont & Roepke (1941) recorded Oldenlandia (Rubiaceae) as the only host-plant. Records in the literature (Bell & Scott, 1937; Pholboon, 1965; Yunus & Ho, 1980; Miyata, 1983) may refer to either boerhaviae or the next species and are: Amaranthus (Amaranthaceae); Impatiens (Balsaminaceae); Citrullus (Cucurbitaceae); Arachis (Leguminosae); Boerhavia (Nyctaginaceae); Knoxia, Morinda, Oldenlandia, Spermacoce (Rubiaceae); Glossostigma (Scrophulariaceae); Camellia (Theaceae).

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