Elephant Hawk-moth
Animals, Moths

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.

Location:
England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
Specific name:
Deilephila elpenor
Habitat:
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.
Height:
Wingspan Range – 45-60mm
Weight:
Medium sized
Population:
Very widely and well distributed throughout England and Wales,

Size and Family

  • Family – Hawk-moths (Sphingidae)
  • Medium Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 45-60mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium), other willowherbs, bedstraws (Galium), Enchanter’s Nightshade, fuchsias and Himalyan Balsalm ().

Habitat

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.

Distribution

  • 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.