Lintneria smithi - (Cadiou, 1998)
a sphinx moth
Synonym(s): Sphinx smithi Cadiou, 1998
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.119750
Element Code: IILEX0B240
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Invertebrates - Insects - Butterflies and Moths - Sphinx Moths
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Mandibulata Insecta Lepidoptera Sphingidae Lintneria
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Cadiou, J-M. 1998. A new Sonoran Sphinx and another new Cypa from Sulawesi (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Lambillionea 98:620-628.
Concept Reference Code: A98CAD01EHUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sphinx smithi
Taxonomic Comments: Tuttle (2007) resurrected the genus Lintneria, originally designated by Butler (1876), to include the complex of species, previously included in the genus Sphinx, whose adults have intricately maculated dorsal forewings and unique larval characters. In North America this includes five species: eremitus, eremitoides, separatus, istar, and smithi.
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G1
Global Status Last Reviewed: 24May2007
Global Status Last Changed: 04Jun2000
Rounded Global Status: G1 - Critically Imperiled
Reasons: Number of EO's alone merits a G1, but other factors make it more vulnerable.
Nation: United States
National Status: N1 (19Oct2000)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
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United States Arizona (SNR)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent: <100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)
Range Extent Comments: Known only from near Pena Blanca Lake, Santa Cruz County, Huachuca Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico (Cadiou, 1998 and personal conversations with Don Bowman (Aurora, Colorado) and Mike Smith (Roseville, California)).

Number of Occurrences: 1 - 5
Number of Occurrences Comments: Known from about two to three locations in U.S. (Arizona) and one in Mexico (Sonora).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Few populations, and relative lack of protection (Opler, pers. comm., 2000).

Intrinsic Vulnerability Comments: No specific information available.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: (<100-250 square km (less than about 40-100 square miles)) Known only from near Pena Blanca Lake, Santa Cruz County, Huachuca Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico (Cadiou, 1998 and personal conversations with Don Bowman (Aurora, Colorado) and Mike Smith (Roseville, California)).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
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U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ

Range Map
No map available.

Ecology & Life History
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Woodland - Hardwood
Habitat Comments: Madrean oak woodland with other woody broad-leafed shrubs (Opler, pers. comm., 2000).
Adult Food Habits: Nectarivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Unknown. Adults of this genus typically visit flowers, often tubular ones. Larvae eat leaves, usually of one or a few related woody species.
Phenology Comments: If there is a diapause stage it would be pupae underground. Adult is probably nocturnal and crepuscular.
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Group Name: Pollinating Hawk Moths

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Conceptually an occurrence would be a location with evidence of presence (or historical presence) that is large enough to have potential for continued presence and/or regular recurrence, that is generally where larvae occur. Minimally based on a specimen or diagnostic photograph of a larva or adult, or for some species even an expert sight record associated with suitable habitat. In practice most collection locations in a region where the species is resident may be considered as indicative of an occurrence nearby. These moths are apparently usually landscape level species, most of which do not form localized populations making occurrence definition difficult at best. Adults commonly move several kilometers to find food and the larger species could very easily move 100 km in a few nights. Even some smaller ones, Aellopos, do so. Thus occurrences for breeding areas should be based on regular presence of larvae, although not necessarily every year. In North America do not track late season occurrences of adults or larvae well north of their permanent range as occurrences, such as larvae of Agrius cingulatus in the fall on sweet potato in New Jersey or Virginia or any tropical species in Canada. Occurrences based on adult reseources probably would not be useful and would often be gardens.
Mapping Guidance: In the few cases where there is an obvious local habitat preference the occurrence boundaries would often be the same as for the associated plant community although an EO might consist of several discrete proximate patches. Similarly if the larval foodplant is strictly confined to a particular mappable habitat these can be mapped as discrete patches several to many of which can be combined as a plausible EO. In most cases though boundaries will be very difficult to define. Mapping individual plants as separate EOs would be unrealistic since it would take many plants to maintain a population. Note that even with MANDUCA BLACKBURNI whose primary native foodplant is now quite scarce, mapping these probably does not fully define the EO because larvae also feed on exotic Solanaceae. In the western USA habitats and thus occurrence boundaries will very often be defined by edaphic features or by plant communities limited by altitude. For example in arid regions FRAXINUS or VITIS feeders will be confined to riparian corridors usually in canyons and these easily mapped features can be used to define the EO.
Separation Barriers: In most cases potential barriers will be large and better treated as unsuitable habitats, but smaller brightly lit urban areas, large bodies of water with on-shore breezes, high peaks (especially those with night temperature below 10 C), or possibly habitats where night time temperatures oftren stay above 30 C; or (especially in Florida) places with frequent extensive mosquito spraying might be considered barriers. Local observations may occasionally suggest features which greatly curtail movement and if these are well under the separation distance in size they may be considered as barriers.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 20 km
Alternate Separation Procedure: Where EOs occupy islands in the ocean (e.g. off the coast of New England, USA; Hawaii) separate islands would generally be considered separate EOs if they are more than 1 kilometer from each other or from the mainland.
Separation Justification: These separation distances are arbitrary but seem reasonable considering the flight capabilities of these moths. For example D. Schweitzer has twice estimated SPHINX GORDIUS cruising along sand roads at around 40 kilometers per hour in New Jersey using an automobile speedometer. This is certainly not one of the fastest species of sphinx moths. this one though does recognize habitat boundaries (i.e. rarely enters forests) and some of the others do likewise. There are claims of faster speeds for a few. It is here assumed that most or all of them fly at 20-60 kilometers per hour or faster so all separation distances could be traversed less than half an hour. Larger distances are deemed somewhat imparctical at least if there is some need to define occurrences based on unsuitable intervening habitats. In eastern North America many species occur sparsely in forests, thickets and subrubia where their larvae feed on well distributed but not dominant, sometimes sparse, trees (often FRAXINUS), vines (mostly Vitaceae), shrubs, or even herbs. Adults lay hundreds of eggs usually singly or perhaps two or three on a plant and usually not many in a patch which implies they must cover many kilometers. There is no known documentation of individual movement distances, but some of these species rather commonly stray more than 500 to 1000 kilometers out of their normal ranges and obviously the ancestor(s) of MANDUCA BLACKBURNI colonized HAWAII from the Americas ranking these moths among the most mobile land animals on earth. It is quite unclear in many temperate areas whether related pest MANDUCA can even survive the winters or recolonize annually from hundreds of kilometers to the south. It is not at all unusual to observe or collect adults of many species (e.g some HEMARIS, HYLES, some MANDUCA) several kilometers out of habitat and likely that adults often move several kilometers per day looking for nectar or oviposition sites. Even the short lived non-feeding PACHSPHINX MODESTA and CERATOMIA AMYNTOR have shown up ten kilometers or more out of habitat in southern New Jersey (Schweitzer)--certainly failry sedentary species. At the other extreme a mass migration of the American Hyles lineata was documented widely in Great Britain in 1943.

With adequate search effort suitable habitat would almost always prove to support occupancy or frequent recurrence where it is within a few kilometers of known occupied habitat. However instances will occur where documentation of presence is limited and available proximate habitat vast. Likewise part of an occurrence (but not an entire C rank or better EO) could easily be unoccupied at times, e.g. certain months or years. Some species are very hard to document, such as SPHINX DRUPIFERARUM which is likely to be overlooked by standard collecting lights and does not come to sugar baits and at least in the Northeast generally turns up by accident.

Both distances are arbitrary, the unsuitable habitat distance is especially tentative since it is not at all known for most species if they respond to and tend to avoid habitat changes or simply cruise over large landscapes looking for mates and oviposition sites. On the other hand the separation distance within extensive suitable habitat is clearly conservative given that occurrences are populations of dozens to thousands or more of wide ranging individuals which probably live a couple of weeks and each of which can easily move 20 kilometers in an hour, so there is almost no chance that two collections only 20 kilometers apart in extensive tracts of habitat would really represent two separate occurrences.

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): 5 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: IE is really moot for such often low density landscape level moths that can easily move a kilometer in less than a minute. In the relatively few cases where edaphic or obvious habitat features clearly define the habitat one could reasonably consider any such patches within up to ten kilometers as part of the known EO but since this figure is probably impractical for an IE of all foodplant patches within two kilometers is arbitrarily suggested. Note USFWS designated critical habitat patches for MANDUCA BLACKBURNI up to 15,216 hectares and none under 100 hectares. Obviously functional occurrences for many continental species would be much larger. A conservative suggestion for inferred extent for a landscape level sphinx moth really would be all suitable habitat within a 5 km radius, but that may be impractical and many occurrences are much larger.
Date: 19Jun2001
Author: Schweitzer, Dale F.
Notes: These Specs were drafted mainly for higlhy mobile species with feeding aduts and relatively sparsely distributed foodplants. They may be inappropriate for species feeding on locally abundant plants such as Ericaceae, aspens, willows, or Myricaceae which may support denser populations that can persist in as little as a few hundred hectares or even less. Some of these are already assigned to other Specs groups but perhaps most SMERINTHINAE should have separate Specs. For a useful general review doubtless as applicable to temperate species as it is to tropical ones see the critical habitat proposal for MANDUCA BLACKBURNI (USFWS, 2002, e.g. p. 40640) and references therein.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04Jun2000
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Opler, P. A.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 03Dec2000
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): P.A. OPLER, D.F. SCHWEITZER

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

  • Butler, A. G. [1876] 1875. Descriptions of several new species of Sphingidae. Proc. Zool. Soc. London:621-623.

  • Cadiou, J-M. 1998. A new Sonoran Sphinx and another new Cypa from Sulawesi (Lepidoptera, Sphingidae). Lambillionea 98:620-628.

  • Tuttle, J. P. 2007. The hawk moths of North America: A natural history study of the Sphingidae of the United States and Canada. The Wedge Entomological Research Foundation, Washington, D. C. 253 pp. +23 plates.

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