Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide


Agrius cingulatus
(pink-spotted hawkmoth)



Agrius cingulatus (pink-spotted hawkmoth)


  • Last modified
  • 24 November 2019
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Agrius cingulatus
  • Preferred Common Name
  • pink-spotted hawkmoth
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Agrius cingulatus Fabricius

Preferred Common Name

  • pink-spotted hawkmoth

Other Scientific Names

  • Herse cingulata Fabricius
  • Protoparce cingulata Fabricius
  • Sphinx affinis Goeze
  • Sphinx cingulatus Farbicius
  • Sphinx druraei Donovan
  • Sphinx pungens Eschscholtz

International Common Names

  • English: sweet potato hornworm; sweet potato sphinx moth; sweetpotato, hornworm
  • Spanish: gusano de la hoja de la batata
  • French: chenille des feuilles de la patate

EPPO code

  • HERSCI (Herse cingulata)

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Lepidoptera
  •                         Family: Sphingidae
  •                             Genus: Agrius
  •                                 Species: Agrius cingulatus


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The egg is very similar to Agrius convolvuli.


A full-fed larva is 90-100 mm long. It is polymorphic: usually green, brown or yellow. It is very similar to the larva of A. convolvuli, but has never been found in Europe.


The pupa is 55-60 mm long. It is very like that of A. convolvuli, but with the proboscis reaching half-way down the wings before reflexing under and ending in a 'bulb' which touches the case near the head. 


Adults have a grey-brown body with pink bands. The abdomen tapers to a point. The hindwings are grey with black bands and pink at the base. Wingspan 90-120 mm. A. cingulatus differs from A. convolvuli in having bright pink abdominal 'ribs', as opposed to the reddish pink of A. convolvuli, and pink at the base of the hindwing. In f. decolora, the 'pink ribs' are pale pinkish wite, almost white.



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A. cingulatus occurs in the tropics and suptropics of the New World, and in the Galapagos and Hawaiian Islands. As a migrant, it occurs north to Canada, south to Patagonia and the Falkland Islands and, very occasionally, to western Europe. A. cingulatus has recently established itself in the Cape Verde Islands west of Senegal, West Africa (Bauer and Traub, 1980), adults having arrived, presumably, from Brazil.

A. cingulatus occurs within the western Palaearctic region as an autumn vagrant, though the frequency is not known due to its confusion with A. convolvuli. Specimens wave been found in England, UK (Barrett, 1895) and on ships off the French coast. In September 2002, a male was captured at light in the region of Serpa, Baixo Alentejo, Portugal, the first European mainland record for this species (Marabuto, 2006).

There are also reports that this species has established breeding populations on the west coast of Africa (Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire) (Ballesteros-Mejia et al., 2011).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 10 Jan 2020

Habitat List

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Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContext
Ipomoea (morning glory)ConvolvulaceaeMain
Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato)ConvolvulaceaeMain

List of Symptoms/Signs

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SignLife StagesType
Leaves / honeydew or sooty mould

Biology and Ecology

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A. cingulatus is an avid visitor to flowers and a strong migrant.

Natural enemies

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Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
Bacillus thuringiensis
Trichogramma chilonis Parasite Eggs


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Ballesteros-Mejia L; Kitching IJ; Beck J, 2011. Projecting the potential invasion of the Pink Spotted Hawkmoth (Agrius cingulata) across Africa. International Journal of Pest Management, 57(2):153-159.

Barrett CG, 1895. The Lepidoptera of the British Islands (illus. edn). Vol. 2. London, UK: L. Reeve and Co.

Bauer E; Traub B, 1980. [English title not available]. (Zur Macrolepidopterenfauna der Kapverdischen Inseln. Teil 1. Sphingidae und Arctiidae.) Ent. Z., Frankf. a. M, 90:244-248.

Marabuto E, 2006. The occurrence of a neotropical hawkmoth in southern Portugal: Agrius cingulatus (Fabricius, 1775) (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae). Boletin de la Sociedad Entomologica Aragonesa, 38:163-166.

Schotman CYL, 1989. Plant pests of quarantine importance to the Caribbean. RLAC-PROVEG, No. 21:80 pp.

Distribution References

Bauer E, Traub B, 1980. [English title not available]. (Zur Macrolepidopterenfauna der Kapverdischen Inseln. Teil 1. Sphingidae und Arctiidae). In: Ent. Z., Frankf. a. M, 90 244-248.

CABI Data Mining, Undated. CAB Abstracts Data Mining.,

CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI

Schotman C Y L, 1989. Plant pests of quarantine importance to the Caribbean. In: RLAC-PROVEG, 80 pp.

Distribution Maps

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