Butterflies & Moths

Butterfly & Moth photos

Butterfly & Moth Details

The Striped Hawk Moth (Celerio livornica)

Below is a photo of a male Striped Hawk Moth Celerio livornica that I caught in the light trap in my garden in Avalon Road yesterday morning, Sunday 11th. This moth, which is an immigrant from the continent, is very rare indeed in this country, but I've had the identification confirmed by 3 worthy lepidopterists (Grahame Hawker, Stuart Hine and Mark Calway) so there can be no doubt about it. Most lepidopterists, even those who use a light trap night after night would probably never catch one in an entire lifetime. Apparently the larva feeds on fuchsia, dock, strawberry and bedstraw among other things. Click on the image below for a larger version.

Striped Hawk MothIt is a singularly beautiful insect, wingspan about 8 - 9 cms. Unfortunately the photo does not allow a view of the lovely pinkish - coloured hind wings which contrast so well with the dark forewings. I kept it in a large cage for the rest of the day where it settled very well, despite being gawped at and admired by regular visitors who arrived to have a look during the day! As dusk approached it started to vibrate its wings in preparation for flight (being cold-blooded they do this in order to warm up the flight muscles) and I released it after dark last night when it shot off at quite a rate of knots!

The "usual" hawkmoths around here are the Poplar Hawk, Lime Hawk, Large and Small Elephant Hawk, Eyed Hawk and Pine Hawk, all of which breed here. In most years we also have numbers of the day-flying Humming-Bird Hawk moth (also an immigrant). Why we in Earley should have been privileged to be visited by our latest illustrious visitor I'm not sure, but it certainly merits an appearance on the EEG website!

Alan Broodbank

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