Cheshire Macro-Moths - Convolvulus Hawk-moth

The Convolvulus Hawk-moth larva (Agrius convolvuli) (Photo by: Steve J. McWilliam) The Convolvulus Hawk-moth - Agrius convolvuli Linnaeus

Imago / Adult:

The adult moth (imago) is large and varies between 94 and 120 mm wingspan. The ground colour is a mixture of greys and grey-browns with dirty pink markings on the hind wings and pink horizontal stripes on the abdomen.. It is an immigrant moth which only occasionally rears a brood in Britain. It cannot stand the cold and damp of British winters in any form and as a consequence has not been able to establish itself itself in this country. It appears most years from mid to late June and can last as long as late August or early September. It is most often to be seen visiting heavily scented garden flowers such as Nicotiana and is occasionally taken at light. In Cheshire it is probably most often found resting on the outside of greenhouses - Why? - who knows! There is usually at least one specimen reported in either Cheshire or South Lancashire every year and occasionally several - one was even reported a few years ago on the steps leading up to Liverpool Museum. The moth occurs most commonly in southern coastal counties but has been found throughout Britain.


The larvae are also large, usually 90 to 105 millimetres in length. The ground colouration of the body is usually brown (see picture above) though a rarer green form is also known to occur. Both the green and brown forms have the ground colouration speckled with black with oblique yellowish-white stripes. The spiracles are large, distinctive and black, whilst the larval horn on the top of the eleventh segment is large, curved and also a shiny black colour. All of the larvae of both colour forms start off life as bright green in the early instars.


The larvae usually feed on a variety of bindweeds (e.g. Field Bindweed and Great Bindweed). However, as can be seen from the photograph above they will successfully take Coleus plants as an alternative


The moth does not overwinter in Britain being unable to stand our cold and especially damp conditions. Whether this will change with 'Global Warming' we shall have to wait and see.


In captivity the larvae do best if kept warm, often the 'airing cupboard' is the best - they seem to eat faster when kept in the dark as well. The major problem with these conditions is condensation. The larvae must be kept as dry as possible which means lining the box with tissue and replacing it at least once a day.












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