The Timostoma smaragditis, also known as the Fabulous Green Sphinx of Kauai or the Fabulous Green Sphinx Moth, is a moth that is part of the Arthropod phylum, the Hexapoda subphylum, the Lepidoptera order, the Insecta class, and the Sphingidae family (Heddle 2004). The Green Sphinx resides on the island of Kauai in Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean (Heddle 2004). The habitat of the Green Sphinx is in lowland mesic forests, as determined by success in collecting the moth in these areas (Heddle 2004). The lowland mesic forest of Kauai has the largest amount of endemic plants (Sakai et al. 2002). However, the diet of the Green Sphinx is unknown, since collected moths could not be found to feed on any native plants offered to it, but it belongs to an herbivorous genus (Heddle et al. 2000). The life history of the Green Sphinx starts when an egg is laid onto a host plant, hatches into a larvae, then undergoes metamorphosis within a pupa to reach its adult form, in which the moth is now able to fly (Khoa 2012). This type of development is common to most Lepidoptera (Khoa 2012). However, here is a lack of information on the life history specific to the Green Sphinx. The Green Sphinx is considered endangered (Heddle 2004). This labeling depends on how high the risk of global extinction is for the specific species (IUCN 2012). While a threatened species and an endangered species are both in danger of extinction, with the threatened species being in a less dangerous situation, the difference of categorization depends on population size, geographic range of occupancy, and other factors (IUCN 2012). The biggest threat to the survival of the species is the change in the species’ habitat (Heddle 2004). Land management practices of the island have changed over time, leading to destruction of the mesic forest by alien animals and plants (Heddle 2004). Also, without knowing the diet of the Green Sphinx, it is impossible to protect the specific host plant that...
Cited: Heddle, M.L. 2004. Tinostoma smaragditis. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 February 2013.
Heddle, M., Wood, K., Asquith, A., Gillespie, G. 2000. “Conservation status and research on the Fabulous Green Sphinx of Kaua’i, Tinostoma smaragditis (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae), including checklists of the vascular plants of the diverse mesic forests of Kaua’i, Hawai’i.” Pacific Science 54:1-9
IUCN 2012. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <http://www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 February 2013.
Khoa, D., Takeda, M. 2012. “Expression analysis of inhibitor of apoptosis and related caspases in the midgut and silk gland of the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella, during metamorphosis and under starvation.” Science Direct 510:133-141.
Sakai, A.K., Wagner, W.L. and Mehrhoff, L.A. 2002. Patterns of Endangerment in the Hawaiian Flora. Systematic Biology 51(2): 276-302.
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