Migrating here from North Africa, these striking creatures are the largest moths to be found in the UK
This striking beauty hailing from Africa is the largest moth found in the UK
Convolvulus hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli
DID YOU KNOW? A large brown-grey moth with a pink and black striped body, the convolvulus hawk-moth closely resembles the privet hawkmoth. It’s a migrant from Africa, with adults flying to Europe to breed between June and August, and their offspring sometimes coming to Britain and Ireland between August and November. The male has heavier markings than the female, with thicker and longer antennae, and sometimes a broad central cross-band. Hawk-moths usually hold the wings close to the body while resting. They are nocturnal, and rest by day on walls and tree trunks. They are attracted to light and will readily come to moth traps. They are unable to overwinter in the UK.
DIET Adults have an unusually long proboscis ( mouthpart) and drink nectar from flowers that other moths can’t reach, such as the tobacco plant ( nicotiana), petunias, lilies and phlox. The caterpillars feed on bindweed ( convolvulus).
LIFECYCLE Adults live for about five weeks, during summer/autumn. Although larvae are sometimes found in Britain, it doesn’t regularly breed here.
HABITAT Anywhere with long tubular flowers and bindweed, including gardens, allotments and parks. Mostly coastal areas in south and east England, although the hawk moth has been found as far north as the Shetland Islands.
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