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(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 ?
Kawahara said that their team believe that hawkmoths are a primary food source for bats, as none appear to be chemically defended, which is why they have evolved anti-bat ultrasound strategies.
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.
The prairie fringed orchid's flowers are fragrant only at night, and pollinia are picked up by the proboscises of hawkmoths as they ingest nectar.
Two caterpillars of the death's head hawkmoth are in being kept by scientists at the University of Wales, Bangor, and are in the pupating stage.
Experts at Stratford-uponAvon's Butterfly Farm identified the six-inch long caterpillars as Death's Head Hawkmoths, which eat each other and click their jaws when approached.
The large white flowers are pollinated by hawkmoths (Sphingidae) (Dressler 1990) (phalaenophyly syndrome sensu Pjil and Dodson 1966).
The energetic demands of hovering flight require hawkmoths to forage for floral nectar.
In the inhumane environment of prison, Lamberton developed an eye for details outside--thistles growing in concrete seams, hawkmoths blown in on the wind, Sonoran Desert toads burrowed in the sandbox used by the children of prisoners--and an ear for what these details had to teach.
Field studies in 2001 focused on the biodiversity of hawkmoths found at five locations in northwest Missouri.
Ellington's team documented wing movements of hawkmoths and the air currents they whip up.