Hawk moths

January 30th, 2012 by Ray Burman Leave a reply »

Some Hawk Moths of the UK

I think the Hawk Moths species  (Sphingidae family) is a  really an interesting bunch.

So I decided to create a featured article on what I think are the most interesting four Hawk Moths….

My favorite hawk moths:-

  1. Hummingbird hawk moth
  2. Elephant hawk moth
  3. Bumble bee hawk moth
  4. Death’s head hawk moth.

The hummingbird hawk moth

This moth stands out to me as one of, if not the most interesting moths we have in the

Hummingbird hawk moth

It does an amazing job of both looking and behaving very much like a real hummingbird.
So much so people can be unsure of what they are actually seeing…..

My next door neighbor told me about them and it wasn’t until a couple years later that I actually saw one for myself, and managed to get a few photo’s.

They really are a sight to behold.

The elephant hawk moth

The caterpillar of this particular hawk  moth is one of the biggest Caterpillar your ever likely to see.

The moth gets it name from the caterpillar looking like an elephants trunk.  It also has an eye-spot that will deter some predators and may be some people from picking it up!

The death’s head hawk moth

Is not always found all over the UK as its migratory, but those in the south of the country may be lucky enough to see one. Out of all the Hawk Moths this is the biggest.

What is interesting about this moth is that it can make a squeaking  sound if it is handled, which I am sure can be a bit disconcerting if you wasn’t ready for it.   And the very distinctive marking on the thorax, which looks like that of the human skull with staring eyes….

Interesting fact : Honey robber

This moth will raid honey bee colonies for their honey!  It is able to use chemicals to pacify the bees so that it is almost invisible to them.  It  also has a number specialized adaptations that enable it to be highly resistant to the bee’s if they were to attack.

The bumble bee hawk moth

What I find really interesting about this moth is that it has almost fully transparent wings and really looks like certain species of bumble bee,  like many of the other hawk moths this is another truly amazing mimic.

Another interesting feature of this species is that the Caterpillar live in side the wood of trees and eats the wood!


These are just some of the Hawk Moths in the UK, there are others that you may find more interesting.  I would be really interested to hear about these hawk moths.



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