Cheshire Macro-Moths - Poplar Hawk-moth

The Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi Linnaeus) (Phot by: Steve J. McWilliam) The Poplar Hawk-moth - Laothoe populi Linnaeus

Imago / Adult:

The adult moth (imago) varies between 75mm and 95 mm wingspan. The ground colour is generally grey though a pink form does rarely occur and has been taken in Warrington in the 1970s. It is a resident moth which is single-brooded and normally flies from mid-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 common moth in the Vice-Counties of Cheshire (VC-58) and South Lancashire (VC-59). The moth comes readily to both MV and actinic light sources and less readily to tungsten ones.


The larvae, usually 60 to 70mm in length, are of the normal hawk-moth larval format being large and having a spike/point/horn/tail at the rear of the body. The ground colour of the larva is an apple green colour usually with oblique yellow stripes one pair of which goes up either side of the horn. Occasionally a reddish diagonal stripe accompanies this yellow stripe. The spiracles are a reddish-brown colour and are often, though not always, set in a white lateral stripe.


The foodplants consist of many species of Salix, such as: Sallow, Aspen, Poplar and Willow.


The moth overwinters as a pupa (chrysalis) and in the late autumn and early winter months is to be readily found by digging around the roots of the foodplant trees, especially isolated trees.












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