Adur Hawk-moths

3 September 2021

Caterpillar of the Elephant Hawk-moth, Deilephila elpenor
Park Avenue, Shoreham
Photograph by Janie Mott  facebook

24 June 2020

Poplar Hawk-moth at Old Shoreham
Photograph by Andy Berry facebook

9 August 2019
A large 10 cm long yellow caterpillar of the Death's Head Hawk-moth,  Acherontia atropos, was discovered in a north Lancing garden. The moth is the largest moth to appear in Britain, sporting a wingspan of up to 12 or 13 cm, a striking species, though it is not native. Immigrants arrive from southern Europe, usually several in each year, during the late summer and autumn.

Illustrated Report by Angie Thompson
on Wildlife & Conservation of Lancing, Sompting & Surrounds
Adur Moths

5 November 2018
An immigrant  Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, visited a purple Salvia flower in a Shoreham town back yard.

Video Report by John Finch

12 August 2018

Larva of the Privet Hawk-moth,  Sphinx ligustri
Connaught Avenue, Shoreham
Photograph by Mikey Unsted

25 September 2015

Caterpillar of a Lime Hawk-moth
Photograph by Lorraine Courant
Caterpillar of the Elephant Hawk-moth
Photograph by Trev Smith

Cats brought in two large caterpillars, one reported by Lorraine Courant as green with white dots and bluish horn (and a brown hind end) was most likely the larva of a Lime Hawk-moth, Mimas tiliae, and the  other one reported by Trev Smith was recognisable as the larva of the Elephant Hawk-moth, Deilephila elpenor.
Adur Moths

31 July 2015

Elephant Hawk-moth

15 September 2012
A large green caterpillar of the species Eyed Hawk-moth, Smerinthus ocellata, was brought in by a domestic cat in Lancing. The warts or bumps on the skin are important for identification from similar species like the Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli.
Report and Photograph by Pete Elliott

Adur Moths

Convolvulus Hawk-moth (Photograph by Richard Poxon) Late April 2007
The Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli, hatched out into the adult female imago. The caterpillar was discovered by Paul Graysmark on 29 October 2006 and it had buried into the soft earth on 30 October 2006 to metamorphises into the pupae. It was kept in a controlled environment by Richard Poxon who recorded its emergence. 
Caterpillar Report

29 October 2006

Paul Graysmark rescued a caterpillar of the immigrant Convolvulus Hawk-moth, Agrius convolvuli, from being squashed as it slowly crawled across Corbyn Crescent, Shoreham (TQ 224 052). This specimen was the green variant (this is not illustrated in the books). The caterpillars feed on Common Bindweed, but they cannot survive a British winter. The horn is at the hind end. The dark red spots differentiate it from the Privet Hawk-moth caterpillar. Separation from the Poplar Moth caterpillar was more difficult. The absence of the Poplar's food plant was the first clue.

First Identification by Richard Poxon who was given the caterpillar to rear in a controlled environment


The caterpillar measured approximately 85 mm. The controlled environment consists of a container of loose dry earth in which the caterpillar will bury into to a depth of about 15 cm to metamorphosise into a pupae. The temperature will be controlled above 4° C so that the moth will hatch in spring when the new Bindweed growths will appear.

So imminent was the transformation that in less than 30 minutes after the caterpillar was placed into the container, it had buried into the soft earth on 30 October 2006.

Other Caterpillars & Imago

Photographs by Richard Poxon

Eggs, Larvae and Pupae of Butterflies and Moths
U.K. Lepidopterists Study Group Forum
Life Cycle Photographs: Egg to Pupa

2 September 2006

The distinctive caterpillar of the Elephant Hawk-moth, Deilephila elpenor, was discovered in the middle of Nicolson Drive in residential Shoreham (an area with large gardens). As it was imminent danger of being squashed it was removed to a garden. The caterpillar was not measured, but estimated to be about 70 mm in length. The larvae feed mainly on Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium), but also other plants as well, including Bedstraw (Galium). The caterpillar was released into my garden as there was plentiful Bedstraw.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth
The Hummingbird Hawk-moth
was just a speck in the Hawthorn tops

21 August 2006
My first Hummingbird Hawk-moth since 2 July 2006 and only my second of the year flew around the Buddleia on the Coastal Link Cyclepath just south of the Toll Bridge, Old Shoreham.

2 July 2006
It was the warmest day of the year so far as the air temperature measured 29.8 ºC  at 4:16 pm. This was the warmest temperature that I have ever recalled.
It was a surprise to see the first Hummingbird Hawk-moth of the year whirring around my uncut Garden Privet hedge before flying on. This was much earlier in the year than their normal first appearance.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, 7 August 2005

The first (1984) Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Macroglossum stellatarum, of the year landed in a Shoreham garden: it flew off rapidly when tickled. It appeared to have chosen a rockery as a roosting place.


3 September 2004
Ray Hamblett's south Lancing garden (TQ 186 044) with best view and highlight of the day of a Hummingbird Hawk-moth visiting the purple Buddleia in the same back garden.
Hummingbird Hawk-moth feeding on Buddleia, 2004 Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Photograph taken in a previous year by Ray Hamblett)

18 June 2006
The dead flowerhead twitched and moved, and it turned out to be a large moth, the Eyed Hawk-moth, Smerinthus ocellata, discovered in a Southwick garden.
Report by Sharon Penfold
on flickr British Insects & Other Arthropods & British Wildlife Gardens
Photograph by Sharon Penfold

14 May 2006
Eyed Hawk-moth, Smerinthus ocellata, Eyed Hawk-moth, Smerinthus ocellata, Eyed Hawk-moth, Smerinthus ocellata,

An attractive Eyed Hawk-moth, Smerinthus ocellata, was discovered on a Daffodil in my garden in Mill Hill Gardens, which was at one time part of Mill Hill.

Report by Paul Plumb
British Lepidoptera (flickr)

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