Privet Hawk-moth

  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth
  • Privet Hawk-moth
    Privet Hawk-moth

Scientific name: Sphinx ligustri

The UK's largest resident Hawk-moth. Pink and black striped abdomen and hindwings; these are not always visible and the strength of the pink varies. Adults fly between June and July.

Flies at night and is attracted to light, feeds on nectar from highly-scented flowers. Freshly emerged adults can sometimes be found resting vertically (e.g. on tree trunks and fence posts). 

Larva July-September. Magnificent bright green caterpillar has white and purple stripes and a black curved tail. Overwinters as pupa, 30cm or more underground.

Size and Family

  • Family: Hawk-moths (Sphingidae)
  • Size: Large, 9-12cm wingspan
     

Particular Caterpillar Food Plants

Wild and garden Privet (Ligustrum), Lilac (Syringa) and young Ash saplings (Fraxinus), Guelder-rose, Holly, Honeysuckle, Snowberry, Vibernum tinus, Forsythia and Spirea.  

Distribution

  • Countries: England, Wales, Scotland.
  • Common in southern half of Britain, local in the Midlands, Coastal in Wales.

Habitat

Open woodland, hedgerows, gardens, downland, fens, coastal scrub. Prefers calcareous soils.