Cheshire Macro-Moths - Privet Hawk-moth

The Privet Hawk-moth (Sphinx ligistri) (Photo by: Steve J. McWilliam) The Privet Hawk-moth - Sphinx ligustri Linnaeus

Imago / Adult:

The adult moth (imago) is a large moth, Britain's largest resident species of hawk-moth, and varies between 100 and 120 millimetres in wingspan. The ground colour is generally a variety of browns with pink markings on both the front and hind wings. It is a resident moth which is single-brooded and normally flies from the beginning of June through to the end of July. The populations are occasionally topped up by migrants. A widely distributed moth in the southern counties but only locally common. It has been missing from Cheshire for many years but recently reappeared, with a specimen being taken in the late 1990s. This may have been a bred specimen which had been released further records are required to prove its expansion and breeding back in our area.


The larvae is large, usually 70 to 85 mm in length. The body is a bright apple green and has white oblique stripes which are edged with bright purple down the sides. The larval horn is large, curved and a shining jet black in colour.


The known foodplants are: Privet (both wild and cultivated), Ash and Lilac. The larva is usually to be found between the months of July to August.


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












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