Poplar Hawk-moth

Laothoe populi (Linnaeus, 1758)

The Poplar Hawk-moth varies in forewing colouration, from greyish to reddish- or buff-brown. At rest the hindwings, which protrude in front of the forewings, break up the "typical" moth shape, and aid with camouflage, as do the scalloped wings. The forewings have a white crescent mark, which varies in its boldness. If disturbed, the moth will flash its hindwings, which have an orange-brown spot, in the aim to startle the attacker. The large larvae are bright green, with a yellow line running across each pair of segments, and is occasionally red-spotted. The larvae has a large spike at the tip, though this is harmless.

Identification

The Poplar Hawk-moth varies in forewing colouration, from greyish to reddish- or buff-brown. At rest the hindwings, which protrude in front of the forewings, break up the "typical" moth shape, and aid with camouflage, as do the scalloped wings. The forewings have a white crescent mark, which varies in its boldness. If disturbed, the moth will flash its hindwings, which have an orange-brown spot, in the aim to startle the attacker. The large larvae are bright green, with a yellow line running across each pair of segments, and is occasionally red-spotted. The larvae has a large spike at the tip, though this is harmless.

ORDER

Lepidoptera

FAMILY

Sphingidae

TYPE

Moths

Widespread and common in Britain, including in Dorset and Somerset. At Wyke Farm, the Poplar Hawk-moth is common and regular at light traps.

In a broad range of habitats, including woodlands, gardens, hedgerows, scrubland and moors.

The larvae feed on poplars and willows.

The adults can be seen from April to September, peaking from late May to late July. They are readily attracted to light, but can also be found by day resting on vegetation.

The larvae can be found from late June to October, and pupate in the ground. Some may emerge the same year, boosting numbers in late summer, though most will overwinter as a pupae.

MONTHS - SEASONALITY
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
LATIN NAME

Laothoe populi

Size (MM)

Wingspan 65-69 mm

iucn Status
lc