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(invertebrate zoology)
The single family of the lepidopteran superfamily Sphingoidea.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
This fine photo of a hummingbird hawkmoth in flight was taken by David Pye.
Hedrick, "The mechanics and control of pitching manoeuvres in a freely flying hawkmoth (Manduca sexta)," The Journal of Experimental Biology, vol.
I was surprised by the death's-head hawkmoth. It makes a noise which is quite creepy and has this skull-like pattern on its thorax.
Study co-author Jesse Barber's team from Boise State University played pre-recorded bat sounds to the insects, and all researchers studied hawkmoths' behaviour.
He'd found a Hummingbird Hawkmoth, a gorgeous orange-winged insect with black-and-white bottom and a proboscis that it sticks in flowers to find nectar.
In fact two such names are in use: the name Savannah Hawkmoth obviously refers to its typical habitat in savannah, steppe-land and semi-desert whilst the name Hawklet (Savella, 2002) alludes to the dwarf size of this moth compared to typical hawkmoths as too does the specific name.
What has been learned about the orchid is that it requires pollination by hawkmoths for sexual reproduction (Bowles, 1983; 1985).
The Totenkopfe were left out altogether because death's-head hawkmoths, he felt, 'sounded too sinister in English, more so than the German'(p.
The western prairie fringed orchid reproduces nearly completely by seed and appears to be pollinated by hawkmoths and other large moths whose long 'noses' can reach the abundant nectar deep in the long spur.
In addition to the loss of habitat, several factors are contributing to the species' low population numbers, according to Wagner, including the decline of another species, the nocturnal hawkmoths, the orchid's only pollinator.