Published July 9, 2017 | Version v1
Journal article Open

First record of Acherontia styx (Westwood, 1848) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) from Israel

  • 1. The Steinhardt Museum of Natural History, Israel National Center for Biodiversity Studies and Department of Zoology, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, 6997801 Israel. Email:


On the 18th of April 2017, a specimen of Acherontia styx (Westwood, 1848) was observed and photographed in the southern city of Elat. Although the specimen has not been collected, the photographs are clear enough for unmistakable identification of this very well-known hawk moth, which is already known from the neighboring countries. Acherontia styx (Westwood, 1848) is smaller (75–130 mm) in comparison to A. atropos (100­–140 mm). The skull-like mark on the thorax in A. styx is more uniform in color and the general habitus of the wings is brighter. It is also differs from A. atropos in having two medial bands on the forewing instead of one, and no bands on the underside of the abdomen (Hampson 1892).
Acherontia styx is a highly polyphagous species known to feed on various plant families such as Labiatae, Bignoniaceae, Verbenaceae, Cucurbitaceae, Solanaceae, Myrtaceae, Convolvulaceae, Oleaceae, Leguminosae, Pedaliaceae and others (Robinson et al. 2010). 
Acherontia styx is mainly distributed in the Oriental Region, but also found in Mesopotamia and Eastern Arabia (d’Abrera 1986). It has been also recorded in Northern Jordan from the Al Azrak (اﻷزرق) oasis (Müller et al. 2005b). These have been the westernmost records of this species so far and its present discovery in southern Israel stretches the western border of its distributional range even further. 



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