Butterflies & Moths (Lepidoptera)

The Hawk Moths Sphingidae can fly very fast, and can also hover in flight. They use this ability to sip nectar from flowers using their long haustellum (tongue) when they fly in the evening. They are large moths with long narrow forewings and smaller hindwings. When at rest, they hold their wings over the body like a tent.

Hippotion scrofa. Photo: Robert Whyte

Grapevine Hawk Moth

Grapevine Hawk Moth Hippotion celerio is a widespread Hawk Moth first named by Linnaeus in 1758. The adult moth has striped brown-and-white forewings, red hindwings and wingspan of about 60 mm. The species occurs worldwide including Borneo, Canary Islands, China, Greece, Philippines, Sicily and Slovenia as well as the whole of Australia.
Photo: Robert Whyte

Pale Brown Hawk Moth Caterpillar

The Pale Brown Hawk Moth Theretra latreillii caterpillar is initially green with a pair of pale dorso-lateral lines and a dark tail spike. Later instars have a spike on the tail that curves backwards and ends in a sudden point. It is quite harmless. They also have one eyespot on each side of the abdomen on the first abdominal segment that always has some red coloration.

Photo: Robert Whyte

Pale Brown Hawk Moth Caterpillar Food Plants

The caterpillar has been found feeding on a wide variety of plants, in this case Slender Grape Cayratia clematidea, a vine in the Vitaceae. The eggs are spherical and pale green. They are laid singly on a leaf of a food plant. The moth is brown, with two dark lines and dots on each forewing, and with darker plain hindwing. The related Theretra tryoni have two eye spots and feed on lilies of the Araceae.
Photo: Robert Whyte