Saturday, 23 May 2015

Day 201 - Especially Elegant Elephant Hawkmoth

Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor)
Hi all today' Day 201 and today I thought I'd do a species I've not done before with my post today. As you know, a little while ago I went bird ringing with the East Dales Ringing Group, but not only this, the night before the ringing day, some moth traps were set up. We didn't get much as it was very cold during the night. The leader of the group had a moth trap set up at her house a few nights beforehand and managed to get quite an exciting moth. From the title and the pictures you'll probably know that today's post is about Elephant Hawkmoths.

So, here are the facts:
Close up of head and bald patch!

  • They are found throughout Britain and Ireland as well as: Europe, Russia, China, India, Korea (not Taiwan though) and finally British Columbia.
  • In most of where they live, the adults are found throughout May and July while the caterpillars are found through July and September.
  • You're probably wondering what they do from September to May. Well they feed up and go into a chrysalis or pupa over the winter ready to emerge as moths in the spring.
  • Now when I first saw the moth and heard its name I thought why is it called and elephant hawk moth? It doesn't look much like and elephant or a hawk. Well it gets the name from its caterpillar - I don't have a picture of one but you can see in the youtube video I found that it really does have something like a trunk for a nose!

  • As you can see they are a big caterpillar and quite a tasty meal for a bird. To try and protect itself the caterpillar will suck its 'trunk' into its head and that makes it look like a little snake with four eyes. Sometimes this puts the birds off, well it must work often enough as there are still the moths around!
Antennae and eye
  • The caterpillars seem to like fuchsia plants according to a few sites that I found, and when they are adults they have a sort of fuchsia colouring. I also read that they like Willowherb and Bedstraw.
  • The adults drink nectar probably from plants like Honeysuckles as these release scent at night to attract moths.
  • It seems the adults aren't safe from flying predators at night either as Bats quite like to eat them!
  • I found out too that they have very good night vision, handy for a moth I'd have thought!
Anyway, short and sweet today as I'm off to my grandparents to watch Eurovision. If you'd like to find out a little more about them try these sites:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful moths, I love their colours, they're stunning! - Tasha