Welcome to CATE Sphingidae...

CATE Sphingidae aims to produce an interactive taxonomic monograph of the hawkmoth family, Sphingidae.

You will find a comprehensive catalogue of the whole family, with pages for all species and subspecies currently recognized in the literature. Many of these species and subspecies are illustrated and diagnoses provided to enable you to identify them with confidence.

Our further aim (now being implemented as part of the eMonocot project) is to encourage the wider community to become involved with the project, share their information and images, and even propose changes to the classification that will be peer reviewed for possible inclusion in a new version of the classification.

Introducing hawkmoths

The hawkmoths form a family of some 1450 species of small to very large moths occurring on all continents except Antarctica. They are most often observed, elegant and streamlined, hovering in front of flowers feeding, or as large caterpillars with a conspicuous horn at the rear end. As a result, hawkmoths are a popular group with both amateur and professional naturalists.

Introducing CATE

CATE stands for Creating a Taxonomic E-science. It was a 3-year project, funded by the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), with the goal of developing the technologies to put not only the product of taxonomic research onto the web, but the process, involving the user community, to propose and review changes.

One animal group (the Sphingidae) and one plant group (the arum lilies, Araceae - you can find them at CATE-Araceae) were selected to test the feasibility of the approach. To read more about the philosophy of the CATE project, go to the CATE-project website.

The CATE Sphingidae team

The team responsible for providing the initial information for CATE Sphingidae included scientists at the Natural History Museum, London and a software developer based at the University of Oxford. The site content is currently being maintained and updated by Ian Kitching.

How to get involved

To expand and develop its content further, CATE needs the active involvement of the user community to provide data and comments, and we warmly invite you to join.

There are two ways to get involved with CATE Sphingidae. You can register as a user or e-mail Ian Kitching.

Word of warning

There are still quite a few errors in CATE, which we endeavour to fix as we become aware of them. Should you see anything that you think is wrong, then please contact Ian Kitching.

Likewise, if you see that we have overlooked a genus, species or subspecies, then please let us know, with a reference to the description, and we will add pages as soon as possible.

Finally, please be aware that the classification used in CATE, as represented by the taxon tree, reflects solely the current situation in the published literature. It should not be taken as an endorsement by the maintainer that he agrees with any particular taxonomic treatment.