FAMILY SPHINGIDAE
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Acherontia lachesis Fabricius
Sphinx lachesis Fabricius, 1798, Ent. Syst., Suppl. p. 434.
Acherontia lachesis Fabricius; Rothschild & Jordan, 1903: 17.


Acherontia lachesis 
(.65 natural size)


Diagnosis.
This and the next species both have skull-like markings on the thorax, a yellow ground colour to the hindwing and blue patches dorsally on each segment of the abdomen. A. lachesis is distinguished by a more variegated forewing, broader dark brown bands on the hindwing, including a diagnostic basal patch, broader dark rings to the abdomen between which the blue patches are much broader.

Geographical range. Oriental Region to S. Moluccas.

Habitat preference. This species is often common and is generally distributed as an adult. It may hill-top, being taken at high altitudes on both G. Kinabalu and G. Mulu.

Biology. Dupont & Roepke (1941) noted the Javan larvae to vary in colour: yellow, green or greyish brown. They suggested this might in part be dependent on the food-plant. Bell & Scott (1937) illustrated the green and brown forms from India: the oblique stripes on the green form are blue above, yellow below, each colour intensifying towards the sharp central division; in the brown form the stripes are much fainter, pale brown and dull bluish grey, and the thoracic segments are broadly dark dorsally, pale subdorsally and medium brown laterally.

Recorded host-plants (Bell & Scott, 1937; Dupont & Roepke, 1941; Browne, 1968; Pholboon, 1967; Yunus & Ho (1980); Miyata, 1983); are: Barleria, Sanchezia (Acanthaceae, latter introd.); Catalpa, Spathodea, Stereospermum, Tecoma (Bignoniaceae); Cannabis (Cannabinidaceae); Canna (Cannaceae); Helianthus (Compositae) Ipomoea, Merremia (Convolvulaceae); Luffa (Cucurbitaceae); Ehretia (Ehretiaceae); Antidesma (Euphorbiaceae); Anisomeles, Colebrookia, Coleus, Pogostemon (Labiatae); Cajanus, Cassia, Centrosema, Clitorea, Dolichos, Erythrina, Glycine, Psophocarpus, Vigna (Leguminosae); Melia (Meliacae); Jasminum, Nyctanthes (Oleaceae); Sesamum (Pedaliaceae); Paulownia (Scrophulariaceae); Cyphomandra, Datura, Lycopersicum, Nicotiana, Solanum (Solanaceae); Callicarpa, Clerodendrum, Lantana, Stachytarpheta, Tectona, Vitex (Verbenacceae); Nicolaia (Zingiberaceae).

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