Cheshire Macro-Moths - Eyed Hawk-moth

The Eyed Hawk-moth (Smerinthus ocellata Linnaeus) (Photo by: Steve J. McWilliam) The Eyed Hawk-moth - Smerinthus ocellata Linnaeus

Imago / Adult:

The adult moth (imago) varies between 75mm and 95 mm wingspan. The ground colour is a pinkish-brown with reddish underwings each with a bright blue/black eye. It is a resident moth which is normally single-brooded and flies from May through to the end of July. In warm summers a partial second generation may occur with adults being on the wing up to late August / early September. A generally distributed and widespread moth in the Vice-Counties of Cheshire (VC-58) and South Lancashire (VC-59). The moth comes to both MV and actinic light sources in moderate number especially in areas where various Salix species are in abundance.


The larvae are usually 65 to 5 millimetres in length. The body is a bluish-green with white or whitish oblique stripes on the sides. The spiracles are noticeably large and red whilst the larval 'horn' has one of these stripes running into it but the major part of the horn is blue in colour.


The larvae usually feed from late June to September on a variety of Salix species, including: Willow, Aspen, Sallow, and very occasionally on Poplar. However, they may also be found, on occasion, on Apple.


The moth overwinters as a pupa (chrysalis) in the ground below its foodplant.












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