The Sphingidae of Southeast-Asia    


(incl. New Guinea, Bismarck & Solomon Islands)                                                          Back to start page                        


by Jan Beck & Ian J. Kitching   




The biologically and geographically diverse region lying between tropical oriental Asia and Australia has been the site of fruitful specimen collection and biological investigation since A. R. Wallace's travels in "The Malay Archipelago" (1869). Yet, while there is a wealth of biogeographical information for some taxa (notably birds and mammals), much of the available data on insects is scattered in various museums and private collections and thus not readily accessible. For some of the more popular groups (e.g. some lepidopteran taxa) there are checklists for some countries, islands or regions, but no comprehensive overview of the region.

Here we present a checklist of the hawkmoth species (SPHINGIDAE Latreille [1802]) of the tropical region of Australasia, both west and east of 'Wallace’s line'. Hawkmoths are probably second only to the day-flying butterflies in the amount of data potentially available. For each of the 382 described species found in this region, we present a point distribution map (or maps), overlaid by an estimate of the global range (more details). We also presented colour photographs of the species, where these were available, and species checklists (recorded & estimated) for 114 major islands between the Andamans and the Solomon islands (up to version 1.5, see Downloads.

The region covered by this website comprises the countries Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands of India (see map). However, we exclude some biogeographically related regions, such as Guam, southern China (e.g. Hainan Island and Guangdong), Taiwan and northern Australia (e.g. Arnhemland and the Cape York Peninsula), as these are covered in adjacent websites (see links).


All Sphingidae species within the gray-shaded area are treated on this webpage.

The map shows the extent of area covered in this website (grey-shaded). It ranges from Burma (Myanmar) in the north (ca. 28°30'N) to Rennel Island (Solomons) in the south (ca. 11°30' S), and from the Andaman Islands in the west (ca. 92°30' E) to the Santa Cruz group (Solomons) in the east (ca. 167° E) [latitudinal extent: ca. 4,500 km; longitudinal extent: ca. 8.200 km, area size ca. 4,22 Mill. km2].



For the most part, species nomenclature follows the Checklist of Kitching & Cadiou (2000), together with some more recent species descriptions. However, we consider that other recently described species are not valid and chose to ignore these even though they are not (yet) formally rejected. Similarly, in a few cases, we have adopted revised species boundaries based on preliminary studies that are still in progress and not yet published. Such unpublished “manuscript” changes are noted in the ''Taxonomy' section of the respective species pages.  

Subspecies are only distinguished on the distribution maps where we consider them both valid and biologically meaningful. If other subspecies are currently recognized, they are mentioned in the ''Taxonomy" section of the respective species pages.