Species richness and community composition of sphingid moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) along an elevational gradient in southeast Peru

ABSTRACT A clear low-elevation skewed unimodal richness pattern is presented for hawkmoths in Southeast Peru. Several hypotheses offer plausible explanations for such a distribution. The effects of water-energy dynamics are partially supported by a strong correlation between temperature and species richness at higher elevations. Further, hypotheses of plant diversity influences on hawkmoth ranges are supported by species richness peaking in transitional habitats. Sphingid subfamilies do not appear to be influenced by habitat type or elevational factors, such as temperature. This may make subfamily analysis a poor means of characterizing sphingid community composition unless study sites vary in the level of disturbance. This study documents 134 species in 23 genera of Sphingidae from five Southeastern Peru sites from the 7,545 specimens collected for the study.