Journal of Threatened Taxa | | 26 February 2020 | 12(3): 15385–15386



ISSN 0974-7907 (Online) | ISSN 0974-7893 (Print) 


#5578 | Received 25 November 2019 | Finally accepted 30 January 2020



First record of the hawkmoth Theretra lycetus (Cramer, 1775) (Sphingidae: Macroglossinae) from Bhutan


Sangay Nidup 1 & Jatishwor Singh Irungbam 2


1 Ministry of Agriculture and Forest, Department of Forest and Park Services, Wangdue Forest Territory Division, Wangdue Range Office, Wangdue Phodrang 14001, Bhutan.

2 Institute of Entomology, Biology Center CAS, Branisovská 1160/31 CZ-37005, České Budějovice, Czech Republic; Faculty of Science, University of South Bohemia, Branisovská 1760, CZ-37005, České Budějovice, Czech Republic.

1, 2 (corresponding author)



Editor: Ian J. Kitching, Natural History Museum, London, U.K.    Date of publication: 26 February 2020 (online & print)


Citation: Nidup, S & J.S. Irungbam (2020). First record of the hawkmoth Theretra lycetus (Cramer, 1775) (Sphingidae: Macroglossinae) from Bhutan. Journal of Threatened Taxa 12(3): 15385–15386.


Copyright: © Nidup & Irungbam 2020. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  JoTT allows unrestricted use, reproduction, and distribution of this article in any medium by providing adequate credit to the author(s) and the source of publication.


Funding: Grant Agency, University of South Bohemia (GA JU 038/2019/P), Czech Republic.


Competing interests: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: The first author is thankful to the staff of Wangdue Forest Range for their encouragement and support on the documentation of moths in the region. The second author is thankful to Grant Agency, University of South Bohemia (GA JU 038/2019/P), for support during the preparation of the manuscript.



The genus Theretra Hübner [1819] comprises small to medium sized, nocturnal hawkmoths belonging to subfamily Macroglossinae, tribe Macroglossini, subtribe Choerocampina (Kawahara et al. 2009).  The adults of this genus feed mainly on nectar from flowers and are frequently attracted to light (Bell & Scott 1937).  Of the 58 species reported from the Indian subcontinent, seven species have been recorded from Bhutan: T. alecto (Linnaeus, 1758), T. clotho (Drury, 1773), T. nessus (Drury, 1773), T. oldenlandiae (Fabricius, 1775), T. silhetensis (Walker, 1856), T. tibetiana Vaglia & Haxaire, 2010 (Irungbam & Irungbam 2019), and T. sumatrensis (Joicey & Kaye, 1917) (Lam Norbu, pers comm.).  In the present paper we report the sighting of Theretra lycetus (Cramer, 1775) from Bajo Town, Wangdue Phodrang of central Bhutan.

Theretra lycetus was described by Pieter Cramer as Sphinx lycetus (Cramer, 1777), but the species was later transferred to the genus Theretra by Kirby (1892).  It has been recorded from Nepal, southern & northeastern India, the Andamans, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia (  The species is easily identified by the pale longitudinal double lines on the upperside of the abdomen becoming indistinct posteriorly, the darker pinkish-brown forewing upperside with strong postmedial lines and intervening pale bands, the hindwing upperside with a reddish medial band of variable width, and outer row of forebasitarsal spines with additional spines.

A single specimen of Theretra lycetus was photographed (Image 1) on the evening of 14 May 2019, at 18.10h, on the wall of the Wangdue Forest Range Office, Bajothang Town (27.4861 N, 89.8977 E; 1,216m) in Wangduephodrang District, Bhutan (Figure 1).  The surrounding vegetation is dominated by an invasive small perennial shrub, Lantana camara L. (family Verbenaceae) and the wider area is cultivated with plants of family Vitaceae, which is one of the larval food plant families of Theretra lycetus.  The specimen was subsequently identified by first author referring to Inoue et al. (1997) and then confirmed by Jean Haxaire, Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris, France, through a social media communication (23 May 2019).

Previous studies on the Sphingidae fauna of the Indian subcontinent have reported the presence of this species, from the eastern Himalaya, southern India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar (Bell & Scott 1937), and Mahakali, Nepal (Kishida 1998), but the studies conducted by Dudgeon (1898) in Sikkim and Bhutan did not record the species from Bhutan.  Dierl (1975) reported 10 species of Sphingidae; Irungbam & Kitching (2014) reported 27 species of Sphingidae from Tsirang District; and Geilis & Wangdi (2017) reported 63 species of Sphingidae mainly from the studies conducted in eastern Bhutan, but none of these studies recorded T. lycetus.  The latest updated checklist of the Sphingidae published by Irungbam & Irungbam (2019) includes 93 species from Bhutan but not T. lycetus.  New records of Sphingidae, however, continue to accrue for the country.  Clanidopsis exusta (Butler, 1875) and Langia zenzeroides (Moore, 1872) were reported for the first time from Bhutan only in 2019 (Jamtsho & Irungbam 2019; Irungbam & Norbu 2019).  Thus, the present sighting of T. lycetus in Bajothang, Wangduephodrang of central Bhutan is significant and important and confirms the presence of the species in central part of the Himalaya.



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