Hawkmoths of  Brazil  by Alan Martin

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IDENTIFICATION KEY: MANDUCAS


See also the Photo Gallery or Pinned Specimens or General Information

1.  Manducas with yellow spots on the abdomen

M. janira: very similar to brasiliensis below, but usually with shorter and broader wings and with stronger zig-zag markings on the inner basal area of the forewing. Both janira and brasiliensis have only been recorded in South and South-east Brazil whereas the similar pairing of clarki and lucetius are found in North and North-east Brazil.


Wing: 43-60 mm


M. brasiliensis: see janira above.


Wing: 38-63 mm





M. clarki: very similar to lucetius below but usually with shorter and broader wings. Both clarki and lucetius have only been recorded in North and North-east Brazil.


Wing: 49-56 mm



M. lucetius: see clarki above.


Wing: 38-61




M. exiguus: recently split from contracta and found in south and south-east Brazil. More uniform than contracta and lacking the strong forewing contrast described for that species, more resembling diffissa but diffissa lacks the strongly waved black post-medial line on the forewing.


Wing: 41-46 mm


M. contracta: most specimens show a strong contrast between the black medial area and the yellowish-ochre colouration of the rest of the wing, and especially against the inner margins of the basal and discal areas. The wings are generally longer and broader than

M. exiguus.  


Wing: 40-59 mm


M. tucumana: an Andean species with just a single Brazilian record from Rio Grande do Sul. Note the strong and long apical streak which contrasts with the generally paler apical area. Note also the pale inner discal area which lacks the zig-zag markings of similar species.


Wing: 40-50 mm


M. diffissa: One of the most common species in this group. Note the distinctive white zig-zag lines that run parallel with the outer margin of the forewing. The underneath of the abdomen is white. The nominate race and 2 subspecies occur in Brazil (see below).


Wing: 37-60mm


M. sexta paphus: generally more uniform grey/brown that diffissa and with a broader hindwing postdiscal band. The underneath of the abdomen is speckled brown whereas diffissa is white.


Wing: 36-59 mm




M. hannibal: the species is easily identified by the pale fringe to the outer margin of the forewing. The nominal race occurs in northern Brazil and the subspecies M. h. hamilcar in south, south-east and north-east Brazil.


Wing: 47-63 mm

2.  Other Manducas

M. lefeburii lefeburii:  the most common species of the group and separated by the short curved apical streak and the broad forewing band that runs from the costa to the outer margin. Unlike the others, this band does not split into two lines when it reaches the outer margin.   


Wing: 42-58 mm


M. incisa: note the long straight apical streak, and how the forewing band splits into two lines near the outer margin. Incisa also has a narrow black line down the centre of the abdomen.


Wing: 39-56 mm


M. prestoni:  similar to incisa but the forewing band is incomplete. Note also the lack of contrast between the base colours of the forewing whereas incisa is paler in the tornal area. Only recorded from the Northern region.


Wing: 51-55 mm


M. herbini: similar to prestoni but smaller and with a narrower forewing band. only recorded from Matto Grosso (West-central region).


Wing: 43-50 mm


M. florestan: very distinctive forewing pattern with an orange discal spot, however it may be split into several species including a small form from the coast of Santa Catarina and Parana.


Wing: 43-70 mm



M. vestalis: superficially similar to florestan but generally grey and cream whereas florestan is browner. Only recorded from the North of Brazil.


Wing 49-70 mm



M. corumbensis: generally greyish with a small discal spot and a pale band across the hindwing.


Wing: 49-59 mm



M. albiplaga: a very large Manduca species. Broad white patches in the post-discal area of the forewing and pale first 2 segments  of the abdomen separate albiplaga from all the other species found in the region.


Wing: 60-82 mm



M. leucospila: the reddish square patch on the inner margin of the discal area of the forewing is distinctive. Only recorded from the South-east of Brazil.


Wing: 41-56 mm




M. dalica: predominently reddish forewings and a small white triangular patch above the discal spot and white in the apical area. The subspecies M.d.anthina which occurs in southern Brazil is paler with usually a larger white apical area and more white mottling along the forewing outer margins.


Wing: 51-65 mm





M. rustica rustica: note the double zig-zag line that crosses the upper discal area of the forewing.


Wing: 46-69 mm



M. chinchilla: very similar to rustica but less patterned and the transverse bands are less jagged. It occurs in Peru but is suspected of having a much wider distribution including Northern Brazil. Further work on the distribution is required.


Wing: 48-63 mm


M. fosteri: generally greyish forewings with a broad white band across the post-discal area and a white apical patch. Only one record from Rio Grande do Sul (Southern region).


Wing: 64-70 mm



M. brunalba: the dark brown centre of the forewing and white border on the apical side is distinctive.


Wing: 48-55 mm




M. bergarmatipes: forewing pattern distinctive. Only reported from Southern Brazil.


Wing: 45-46 mm (two specimens only)





M. lichenea: very variable but rich dark green markings on the forewings when fresh which soon fade to a buff brown colour.


Wing: 42-57 mm



M. gueneei: generally greyer than lichenea but also very variable although without the greenish tinge. There is some suggestion that gueneei is just a variation of lichenea and not a true species.


Wing: 44-53 mm


M. manducoides: very dark forewings with a broad white zig-zag band that crosses the post-discal area.  Note also the extensive white basal area of the hindwings.


Wing: 44-52 mm




M. violaalba: the white hindwings are distinctive.


Wing: 36-41 mm

Manduca diffissa subspecies

M. diffissa: the nominate species M.d.diffissa is found in south-east Argentina and Uruguay but is replaced in South and South-east Brazil by M.d.petuniae. Northwards from Minas Gerais petuniae is replaced by M.d.tropicalis. However rather surprisingly both diffissa and tropicalis have also been reported from Rio Grande do Sul.


Diffissa is the palest and most uniform of the subspecies, and tropicalis is the darkest.


Wing: 37-60mm


Note: Felipe Amorim, who has been researching Hawkmoths in São Paulo state says: ‘Manduca janira in my area are rarer and have a longer proboscis than brasiliensis, averaging 103.53 +/- 8.58 mm (n=4 individuals). Manduca brasiliensis are more abundant with a proboscis 3 cm shorter on average,  71.48 +/- 7.44 mm (n=22 individuals).

M.d.dalica

M.d.anthina

See ‘additional photos’ for comparisons of the above 6 species

M.h.hannibal

M.h.hamilcar

M.d.diffissa

M.d.petuniae

M.d.tropicalis

See the paper by Haxaire et al which describes the new species M. exiguus