Holotype [♂] Algeria: Nemours [Ghazaouet], v«.1877» (“frère de M. Austant”) [????]. Staudinger, 1878, Petites Nouv. ent. 2: 203, stated that the holotype was a male. Danner, Eitschberger & Surholt, 1998, Herbipoliana 4 (1): 115, stated that they did not find any type material in MNHU.
Synonymized with Smerinthus populi by Cuisine, 1887, Bull. Soc. ent. Fr. 1887: 120. Reinstated as a geographic variety by Staudinger, 1901, in Staudinger & Rebel, Cat. Lepid. Pal. Faunen. 1: 99. Transferred to Laothoe by d'Abrera, 1987, Sphingidae Mundi: 92. Reinstated as a species by Eitschberger, Danner & Surholt, 1989, Atalanta 20: 262.
Smerinthus austauti was proposed conditionally should further specimens show that it represented a species distinct from Smerinthus [= Laothoe populi] populeti. The original spelling used by Staudinger, 1877, Petites Nouv. ent. 2: 190, was actually "austanti". In the absence of external evidence to the contrary, and particularly given that Staudinger dedicated the taxon to "M. Austant", this should be the correct original spelling. However, the incorrect (but accurate) subsequent spelling, austauti, has been in prevailing usage since 1878 and so under Article 33.3.1 of the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, this subsequent spelling and its attribution to Staudinger (1877) are to be preserved and austauti deemed to be the correct original spelling. This name is also applicable to the spring generation form.