More brightly coloured, though smaller, than the Elephant Hawk-moth (D. elpenor), which has a more greenish than a yellowish tinge.

Flies from dusk, though newly emerged adults can sometimes be seen during the day. Feeds from Viper’s Bugloss, campions, Honeysuckle, Red Valerian and Rhododendron. Caterpillars can be found from late June to early September.

The caterpillar is similar to its larger cousin and feeds by night; during the day it hides below its foodplant. The pupa is found in a fragile cocoon at the base of the foodplant in the loose litter, or just beneath the surface. Adults attracted to light.

Flight Season

Flies from May to July in one generation.

 Size and Family

  • Family: Hawk-moths (Sphingidae)
  • Size: Medium, 4-5cm wingspan 

Caterpillar Food Plants

Bedstraws, especially Ladies Bedstraw (Galium verum), though also Hedge, Marsh and Heath Bedstraws. Has also been found on Rosebay Willowherb and Purple-loosestrife.

Habitat

A range of habitats, particularly with a short grassy sward, including chalk and limestone grassland, but also damp, neutral grassland. Heathland, commons, shingle beaches, sand dunes and golf courses.

Distribution

  • Countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
  • Widespread in Britain, locally distributed in England and Wales, more scarce in the north of England and Scotland, widespread in Ireland (but mainly coastal)
Small Elephant Hawk-moth - Adam Gor

Small Elephant Hawk-moth

Small Elephant Hawk-moth - Garry Barlow

Small Elephant Hawk-moth

Small Elephant Hawk-moth - Ben Sale

Small Elephant Hawk-moth

Small Elephant Hawk-moth - Patrick Clement

Small Elephant Hawk-moth

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (underwing) - Patrick Clement

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (underwing)

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (underwing) - Bob Eade

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (underwing)

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (caterpillar) - Stuart Read

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (caterpillar/green form)

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (caterpillar/brown form) - David Morris

Small Elephant Hawk-moth (caterpillar/brown form)


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