(redirected from Hawk Moths)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(invertebrate zoology)
The single family of the lepidopteran superfamily Sphingoidea.



a family of hawk moths. They are of average and large size; the wingspan is 2 to 18 cm. They are characterized by a cigar-shaped body, narrow elongated forewings, and spindle-shaped antennae. The insects can fly with a velocity of up to 54 km/hr and “stand” in the air, sucking nectar from flowers with their long tongue while in flight. (The length of the tongue in the Madagascar hawk moth, Macrosila predicta, exceeds 25 cm.) Sphingidae caterpillars are always naked. They feed on leaves, stripping the shoots bare. There are about 1,200 species, which are found throughout the world. Most are found in the tropics; in the European part of the USSR there are 26 species, and about 40 are found in the Far East. Some members of the family Sphingidae are capable of long flights. (Daphnis nerii flies from the shores of the Black Sea to Finland.) The pupae winter in the soil. Some species are harmful to one or several closely related plants, most frequently woody plants. The pine hawk moth (Sphinx pinastri) and the eyed hawk moth (Smerinthus ocellatus) are among the harmful species in the USSR. The convolvulus hawk moth (Herse convolvuli) is useful in destroying bindweed in the southern Ukraine.


Kuznetsov, N. Ia. “Obzor semeistva Sphingidae palearkticheskoi i otchasti paleanarkticheskoi (kitaisko-gimalaiskoi) fauny.” Tr. Russkogo entomologicheskogo obshchestva, 1906, vol. 37, nos. 3–4.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh. Edited by L. A. Zenkevich, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.
Seitz, A. Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde, section 1, vol. 2. Stuttgart, 1913.


References in periodicals archive ?
Morgansen and another AIRFOILS member, University of Washington biologist Tom Daniel, saw this special dance when they put hawk moths into a semicircle arena covered with LED panels.
Hawk moths use wing sensors to assist in flight control too, Daniel's team reported last July in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Caption: Twerk it Researchers use a curved panel of LED lights (right) and high-speed cameras to examine hawk moth hovering.
EXOTIC: Above, a hummingbird hawk moth, left, a painted lady and a speckled wood
Flowers are pollinated solely by night-flying hawk moths (Sphingidae) which collect nectar from the base of a long floral tube with their long tongues.
Only two species of hawk moths (Dolba hylceus (Dru.
In contrast, pollinator observations demonstrated that hawk moths visited flowers with larger corollas, and that the probability of producing a fruit for natural pollination plants increased with corolla diameter.
In addition, little is known about the status of the hawk moths that pollinate these flowers.
BOB'S creature featured on Friday is the caterpil lar of the elephant hawk moth.
THE 'strange creature' appears to be the caterpillar of an elephant hawk moth.
Tim Jenkins said: "In ancient times, they were seen as a symbol of war or disease and in more recent times have gained cult status as the insect stars in The Silence of the Lambs where the pupa of the hawk moths were placed in the dead victims' throats by an evil serial killer.
Sure enough, they turned out to be the larva of the death's-head hawk moth, given a sinister role in the chiller movie, Silence of the Lambs.