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.

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.

Flight Season

Flies between June and July in one generation.

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.

Privet Hawk-moth - Iain Leach

Privet Hawk-moth

Privet Hawk-moth - Bob Eade

Privet Hawk-moth

Privet Hawk-moth - Leigh Prevost

Privet Hawk-moth

Privet Hawk-moth - Stuart Read

Privet Hawk-moth

Privet Hawk-moth

Privet Hawk-moth

Privet Hawk-moth (caterpillar) - John Murray

Privet Hawk-moth (caterpillar)

Privet Hawk-moth (caterpillar) - Steve Mackay

Privet Hawk-moth (caterpillar)

Privet Hawk-moth (caterpillar) - Tapio Kujala

Privet Hawk-moth (caterpillar)