|March 2006. The attached picture is of the hawk moth,Theretra nessus. The question was asked,by New Zealand, has anyone seen this hawk moth in any Pacific country, particularly in Melanesia. There have been reports of a different hawk moth – Hippotion velox – appearing in many places across the Pacific. T. nessus feeds on yams and many other plants.
These moths are moving about a great deal and it would be interesting to track their movements.
Palau reported T. nessus some years ago, and it was identified on PestNet. It was seen recently in some numbers on Vanua Levu, Fiji, and this may be a new record for Fiji. It is in Papua New Guinea, in New Britain, as well as on the mainland. During the digitization of the insect collections in PNG, specimens were found from a range of locations, from Mount Hagen to coastal areas. T. nessus was first found in the Hawaiian islands in 1974, on Oahu. By 1975, it had reached Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii. The host is yam (Dioscorea spp.). Currently, it is seldom seen or collected, probably because of effective egg parasitism by Trichogramma spp. It has also been found near Atoifi, Small Malaita, Solomon Islands.