species: stellatarum Linnaeus.
Synonyms: Psithyros Hubner and Bombylia Hubner (type species
Macroglossa Boisduval (type species
Boisduval; Reunion I.); Rhamphoschisma Wallengren (type species fasciatum
Wallengren = trochilus Hubner, S. Africa).
The genus contains the distinctive 'humming-bird hawks'. The forewings are
narrow, grey to dark grey or black, with transverse, often sinuous
fasciae. The hindwings are usually blackish with a broad yellow or orange
medial to subbasal band. Thorax and abdomen are very broad, the latter
terminating in a fan of scales, often with further scale tufts laterally;
the abdomen often has lateral and subventral yellow or white patches. The
male genitalia are typically macroglossine but the aedeagus vesica has two
large, often rod-like cornuti, and there are no friction scales on the
exterior of the valve.
Flight is diurnal, crepuscular or nocturnal, the species hovering in front
of flowers whilst taking nectar with the tongue. The species are mobile,
many migratory, with specimens frequently taken at sea.
The larvae usually have a dorsolateral band, sometimes oblique bars
laterally on the abdomen, but never ocellar markings. The pupa has a
keeled tongue case. Host-plants are mainly from the family Rubiaceae.
The genus is extremely diverse in the Indo-Australian tropics, well
represented in the Malagasy Region, but with only a single Afrotropical
and Palaearctic species (D'Abrera, 1986: 158). Australian species have
been reviewed by Moulds (1985). The genus is currently being studied by W.
Hogenes of Amsterdam.
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