|Copyright: Mehmet Karababa (caspian)
|Date Taken: 2009-07-26|
|Exposure: f/3.5, 1/25 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2009-08-07 4:08|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Thretra Alecto(Linnaeus, 1758)|
GB: Levant Hawkmoth, F: Deiléphile Candiote, D: Riesenweinschwärmer, RU: Alekto Brazhnik
Wingspan: 80--100mm. As illustrated, with very little variation, apart from the intensity of coloration. However, a number of forms exist: f. transcaspica O. Bang-Haas bears an orange-red, oblique, submarginal line on the forewing; f. cretica Boisduval is paler than normal, with a buff tint to the forewing and orange-red hindwing. These forms are geographical, but not exclusively: the former occurs in Turkmenistan; the latter seems to be found mainly in the drier and hotter regions of south-eastern Europe and the Middle East.
Occurs in areas where Vitaceae are grown; in Europe, on ornamental vines rather than in vineyards due to the widespread commercial use of pesticides; in Greece, up to 1200m. The commonest sphingid in Lebanon, apart from M. stellatarum (Ellison & Wiltshire, 1939).Little is known about the behaviour of this species except that it is attracted to flowers and light.
April/May, June/July and August/September, usually in three overlapping generations, with sometimes a partial emergence in October and November.
OVUM: Large (2mm), oval, smooth, pale glossy yellowish green; not unlike the egg of Laothoe populi. Up to five in a cluster may be laid on both the upper and lower surfaces of young leaves, each female depositing 150--250 eggs.
LARVA: Full-fed, 90--110mm. Trimorphic: reddish-brown, plum-brown or green.
On hatching, the 6mm-long larva is bright yellow with a very long, straight, black horn, which remains black until the final instar. With feeding, the body acquires a vine-green coloration upon which a paler, dorso-lateral line is superimposed. In the second instar, several eye-spots of diminishing size may appear along this; that on abdominal segment 1 is very bold -- black above and white below -- and, unlike some of the others, always present. Although it begins feeding from beneath a vine leaf whose colour it matches, in the fourth or fifth instar most larvae have assumed the colour and pattern of an old, gnarled vine stem, on which most now rest. Those that remain green resemble a third-instar larva of D. elpenor, speckled yellow, with a yellow dorso-lateral line in which, from abdominal segments 1--8, yellow-ringed eye-spots are usually present. There are also several pale yellow, oblique, lateral streaks and a blue, slightly curved, stumpy horn.
It grows very rapidly and achieves its final length and a diameter of 10--12mm in 15--25 days. With its preference for young vine shoots and its abundance in certain localities, it can cause considerable damage. Having finished feeding, it descends very quickly from the hostplant in search of a suitable place to pupate.
Most common between May and late September.
Major Hostplants. Vitis and Parthenocissus spp. In southern Turkey both Vitis vinifera and the ornamental P. quinquefolia are taken with equal relish.
Minor Hostplants. Rubia and Gossypium, and Leea in India.
PUPA: 50--60mm. Light brown and noticeably dorso-ventrally flattened, with a granulose, keel-shaped proboscis projecting beyond the head. Cremaster short, broadly triangular, downward curving. Pupation may take place in a variety of sites: most larvae construct a loosely spun cocoon amongst dead leaves on the ground; others may pupate under stones or beneath the bark of a nearby tree, without forming a cocoon; during the summer months many pupate above ground, forming a cradle of vine leaves pulled together, usually in the notch of a stem. This stage lasts from fifteen days to five months, depending on the climate. Overwinters as a pupa. (For http//tpittaway.tripod.com)
Note:that the definition of contribution in kind to Mr Nigel Deacon thank you very much.
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