Scientific name: Deilephila elpenor
May to early August. This pink and olive-green moth is named after the caterpillar’s resemblance to an elephant’s trunk.
The adults are nocturnal, flying from dusk and coming to light, resting by day amongst its foodplants. They feed from honeysuckle (Lonicera) and other tubular flowers on the wing.
The larvae are usually seen when looking for somewhere to pupate, or when resting on stems in good weather, as they are very large, with noticeable eye markings. They overwinter as pupae in fragile cocoons at the base of plants in loose plant debris/litter, or just below the surface of the ground.
Size and Family
- Family – Hawk-moths (Sphingidae)
- Medium Sized
- Wingspan Range – 45-60mm
- UK BAP: Not listed
Caterpillar Food Plants
Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium), other willowherbs, bedstraws (Galium), Enchanter’s Nightshade, fuchsias and Himalyan Balsalm ().
A variety of habitats, often where Rosebay Willowherb is present, such as rough grassland, waste ground and clearings, hedgerows, heathland, sand dunes, woodland (rides and clearings) and gardens.
- Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland.
- Very widely and well distributed throughout England and Wales, expanding its range north, widely and well distributed in Ireland, thinly distributed in Scotland, very local and rare in the Channel Islands.