Oleander Hawk Moth Facts: Unveiling the Mysteries of this Fascinating Creature

The Oleander Hawk Moth, scientifically known as Daphnis nerii, is a captivating and unique species. Native to regions across Europe, Asia, and Africa, this moth is admired for its vibrant colors and fascinating characteristics.

One of the most distinctive features of the Oleander Hawk Moth is its stunning appearance. Its wings display a mix of green, pink, and white hues, creating an impressive camouflage in its natural habitat. Additionally, the moth’s uncanny ability to hover while feeding on nectar, much like hummingbirds, makes it a marvel among insect enthusiasts.

Oleander Hawk Moth Identification

Appearance

The Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii) is a striking insect known for its unique look. It has a pinkish-brown body with distinctive green markings and white spots on its wings. The underwings are mostly pink, creating a beautiful contrast. Here are some key features:

  • Body: Pinkish-brown with green markings
  • Wings: White spots and green patterns
  • Underwings: Mostly pink

Wingspan

The Oleander Hawk Moth has a relatively large wingspan, typically ranging between 3.1 to 4.3 inches (8-11 cm). This makes it easy to spot while hovering around flowers, as it feeds on nectar through its long proboscis. To put it in perspective, here’s a comparison table of wingspans:

Species Wingspan (in) Wingspan (cm)
Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii) 3.1 – 4.3 8 – 11
Small Round Hawk Moth (for example) 1.6 – 2.4 4 – 6

With such a sizable wingspan and vibrant colors, the Oleander Hawk Moth is an eye-catching species in the moth family.

Habitat and Distribution

Asia

The Oleander Hawk Moth is primarily found in Asia, particularly in countries like India, China, and Japan. They inhabit various habitats, such as:

  • Forested areas
  • Hillsides
  • Urban gardens

Europe

In Europe, this moth species can be spotted in the Mediterranean region and southern parts of the continent. Key examples of their European habitats include:

  • Olive groves
  • Vineyards
  • Coastal areas

Africa

The Oleander Hawk Moth has a significant presence throughout the African continent. Specifically, they are commonly found in:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Tropical rainforests
  • Savanna regions

North Africa

In North Africa, this migratory species is present in countries like Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. They typically prefer habitats such as:

  • desert fringes
  • Oasis areas

Hawaii

The Oleander Hawk Moth has also been found in Hawaii, where it has likely been introduced through imported plants. Here, its preferred habitats include:

  • Gardens
  • Agricultural zones

As a migratory species, the Oleander Hawk Moth’s distribution changes seasonally, often moving from colder to warmer areas. This helps them find optimal conditions for reproduction and survival. Overall, this fascinating moth species showcases a diverse and adaptable set of habitat choices across various geographical regions.

Life Cycle

Eggs

The Oleander Hawk Moth begins its life as an egg laid by the adult female moth. The eggs are typically deposited on the leaves of the oleander plant, which serves as a food source for the emerging larvae. As a brief overview:

  • Eggs are oval-shaped and light green
  • Laid on the underside of oleander leaves

Larva and Caterpillar

Upon hatching, the Oleander Hawk Moth larva starts its caterpillar stage. They are known for their striking appearance and rapid growth, making them an interesting subject for lepidopterists. Key characteristics include:

  • Bright green color with a blue horn at the end of its body
  • Bright red, yellow, and white eye spots on the sides
  • Feed primarily on oleander plants

During this stage, the caterpillar encounters various predators, including ants and other insects that may try to feed on its soft body. To protect themselves, Oleander Hawk Moth caterpillars display a unique defensive behavior, rearing up their upper body to reveal the eye spots that mimic a larger, more threatening creature.

Pupa

Once the caterpillar is fully grown, it enters the pupa stage. The Oleander Hawk Moth caterpillar burrows into the soil, where it forms a protective cocoon around itself. In this brown, cylindrical casing, the caterpillar undergoes metamorphosis, a period of significant transformations. Some key points during pupation:

  • Lasts for about 20-30 days
  • Takes place in a subterranean chamber
  • Develops into an adult moth during this stage

Adult Moth

Upon emerging from the pupa, the Oleander Hawk Moth enters its adult stage. As a member of the sphinx moth family (Sphingidae), it is characterized by:

  • A large, heavy body and long, pointed abdomen
  • A forewing length of 3-4 cm
  • A wingspan of approximately 8-10 cm
  • Primarily nocturnal habits

Adult moths feed on the nectar of various flowers, using their long proboscises to reach the sweet liquid. These moths are also noted for their ability to hover near flowers, displaying impressive agility.

Sphinx Moth Family Oleander Hawk Moth
Large, heavy body
Long, pointed abdomen
Nocturnal habits
Hover near flowers, feeding on nectar

Diet and Pollination

Nectar Sources

The Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii) primarily feeds on nectar from various flowers. Some common sources of nectar for this moth include:

  • Nerium oleander (Oleander plant)
  • Jasminum (Jasmine)
  • Petunia
  • Lonicera (Honeysuckle)
  • Vinca

These plants provide the moth with energy to support its nightly pollination habits. Pale or white flowers with a strong fragrance are particularly attractive to the moth, as they are easily detected during the night.

Host Plants

Oleander Hawk Moths lay their eggs on specific host plants, where their caterpillars will later hatch and feed. Some common host plants include:

  • Nerium oleander (Oleander plant)
  • Adenium obesum (Desert rose)

| Host Plant

Predators and Defense Mechanisms

Birds

Birds are one of the main predators of Oleander Hawk Moths. To mitigate the threat, these moths have developed various camouflage patterns on their forewings, which serve as their first line of defense against detection by birds. An example would be the resemblance of their wings to tree bark or leaves.

Wasps

Wasps pose a threat to Oleander Hawk Moths, particularly during the larval stage. As a defense mechanism, moth larvae might eat toxic food plants, such as those in the nightshade family, which in turn make them less palatable to wasps.

Spiders

Spiders are also potential predators of Oleander Hawk Moths. To avoid becoming prey, these moths might use a combination of camouflage techniques, like blending in with their surroundings, and rapid evasive flight when they sense a threat.

Lizards

Many lizards rely on their eyesight to find prey, like the Oleander Hawk Moths. Moths could use their wing patterns to confuse lizards, making it difficult for them to identify the moths as potential prey.

Bats

Bats are known to prey on moths, including the Oleander Hawk Moths. Some moths have developed the ability to detect ultrasonic signals emitted by bats, helping them to evade these predators. Furthermore, the moth’s eye spots might serve to confuse or startle bats, giving them a better chance to escape.

Comparison Table:

Predator Defense Mechanism
Birds Camouflage patterns on forewings
Wasps Consuming toxic food plants during larval stage
Spiders Camouflage techniques and rapid evasive flight
Lizards Wing patterns to confuse lizards
Bats Detection of ultrasonic signals and eye spots to startle bats

Classification and Scientific Background

Sphingidae Family

The Oleander Hawk Moth belongs to the Sphingidae family, which is a diverse group of moths commonly known as hawk moths or sphinx moths. These moths are known for their:

  • Rapid and agile flight
  • Ability to hover like hummingbirds
  • Feeding on nectar from flowers

Genus Daphnis

The Oleander Hawk Moth is part of the Daphnis genus within the Sphingidae family. Its scientific name is Daphnis nerii. Some characteristics of this genus include:

  • Medium to large-sized moths
  • Colorful wing patterns
  • Preference for feeding on plants in the Apocynaceae family, like oleanders

Carl Linnaeus and Systema Naturae

Carl Linnaeus, a renowned Swedish botanist, zoologist, and physician, is responsible for the modern taxonomy system. In his 10th edition of Systema Naturae published in 1758, Linnaeus introduced binomial nomenclature which is widely used today for classifying organisms.

Taxonomy Rank Term used by Linnaeus Example for Oleander Hawk Moth
Kingdom Animalia Animalia
Class Lepidoptera Lepidoptera
Family Sphingidae Sphingidae
Genus Daphnis Daphnis
Species nerii nerii

By placing the Oleander Hawk Moth within this classification system, it becomes easier to understand its relation to other species and its unique characteristics.

Conservation and Importance

The Oleander Hawk Moth plays a vital role in the ecosystem. As pollinators, they spread pollen between plants, enabling fertilization and plant reproduction.

Their population status directly affects native plant communities, as well as the health of other wildlife that depend on these plants for food and habitat.

  • Ecosystem services: Hawk moths provide essential pollination services for a variety of plants, including the Oleander plant from which they get their name.

  • Population balance: Maintaining a healthy population of Oleander Hawk Moths contributes to overall ecosystem stability and biodiversity.

It’s crucial to support conservation efforts aimed at protecting habitats and ensuring the survival of these incredible moths. The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is an excellent example of a comprehensive approach that benefits hawk moths, as well as a wide range of other species.

Pros Cons
Enhances plant reproduction May be affected by habitat loss
Contributes to biodiversity Could be sensitive to pesticide use
Supports other wildlife indirectly

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillars from Hawaii

 

Help to identify this moth larva please
Location: Maui Hawaii
April 12, 2011 9:37 pm
Aloha, in late March I found that three of these larva had consumed a large gardenia plant in one night. I believe that it is a Sphinx larva, but unsure which. Thanks
Signature: Jim

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Jim,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar, an species introduced to Hawaii from the Mediterranean region.  The range of this species has increased with the cultivation of oleander in other regions.  Gardenia is a minor food plant.  The best place to try to identify Sphinx Moths from Hawaii and elsewhere is the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Letter 2 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Thailand

 

Thailand Caterpillar
Location: Chon Buri, Thailand
March 16, 2012 11:17 pm
I am doing a science inquiry project for First Graders in Thailand. This caterpillar was eating my new plants (pic of plant attached). I kept one to show my students and we are all very excited to see that it has formed its chrysalis.
I’d like to know what butterfly/moth this is and how long it will be before it’s free to fly.
Thank you so much.
Pictures taken by me March 7, 2012 in Chon Buri, Thailand.
Signature: Teacher Becky

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Becky,
Your caterpillar will metamorphose into an Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii.  The caterpillars feed primarily on the leaves of oleander, though according to the Sphingidae of the Americas website (the Oleander Hawkmoth has been introduced into Hawaii): “Minor hostplants are Vinca, Vitis, Gardenia, Asclepias, Jasminum, Trachelospermum, Amsonia, Carissa, Tabernaemontana, Mangifera, Rhazya, Adenium, Catharanthus, Ipomoea and Thevetia. Larvae will also feed on Ligustrum ovalifolium in captivity.”  The range of this Mediterranean and North African moth has expanded, probably due to the cultivation of its food plant, and we have gotten reports from Thailand in the past.

Update:  Eclosion of Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
March 22, 2012
Location:  Thailand
Hi there!  It’s with much fanfare that our caterpillar has emerged.  We were surprised at how long it hung around (we think drying its wings).  Picture attached.
Thank you so much for your help in our classroom.
Living in Thailand, I anticipate we’ll have a lot more pictures of critters to send your way in our quest to learn more about insects.  Your website is fantastic.
Regards,
Teacher Becky

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Teacher Becky,
We are happy your students got to witness the eclosion of this lovely Oleander Hawkmoth.  Thanks for providing a followup to your earlier letter.

Letter 3 – Oleander Hawkmoth in Hawaii

 

Subject: Oleander Hawkmoth
Location: Downtown Honolulu
July 13, 2012 8:58 pm
We just found this beautiful moth in our building located in downtown Honolulu. Apparently he/she has been hanging around for the past 5 days so I’m taking him/her to a forest reserve. I hope they are not harmful to our environment. Are they common in Hawaii because nobody has ever seen one.
Signature: Edwin and Roselani

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Edwin and Roselani,
The Oleander Hawkmoth is an introduced species in Hawaii, but since the caterpillar feeds on the leaves of Oleander, another introduced species in Hawaii, we would not consider it to be harmful to the environment.

Mahalo (thank you) for responding.  We took the moth up next to a forest reserve and set him free.  I’m sure he’ll find some oleander around because it’s used pretty extensively around here.
He was the star guest at our company on Friday and everyone was amazed at how beautiful he was.
Aloha!
Roselani and Edwin

Letter 4 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from the Philippines

 

Subject:  Caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  Rizal, Philippines
Date: 01/18/2018
Time: 01:40 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Please help me identify the exact genus and species of this caterpillar.
How you want your letter signed:  Kaye

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Kaye,
Most of the Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillars,
Daphnis nerii, on our site are more mature, indeed many are pre-pupal.  Thanks for sending an image of an earlier instar that has a longer, more delicate caudal horn.  You can find a similar looking image on Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic.  As the name indicates, the larvae of the Oleander Hawkmoth feed on the leaves of oleander.

Letter 5 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar on Cyprus

 

Subject: What is this caterpillar
Location: Paphos Cyprus
October 12, 2016 4:02 am
There are a lot of these very mobile caterpillars in the hedges around our villa in Cyprus – we guess they are Hawk Moths but something more specific would be appreciated. They are light green over 30mm long with a ponounced rear face with yellow horn , longitudinal stripes either side and light coloured almost illuminous vertical stripes. The front face has small whitish eyes st back along the head.
Signature: Regards Ray

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Ray,
As you noticed, the backward facing yellow horn is quite distinctive, and also indicative that this is a Hawkmoth caterpillar or Hornworm in the family Sphingidae.  Is there much oleander growing in the vicinity where they were discovered?  This is a very green Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Daphnis nerii, and according to Wildscreen Arkive:  “As they get older, the larvae become green to brown with a large blue-and-white eyespot near the head and a yellow ‘horn’ on the rear. There is also a white band along the side of the body, with a scattering of small white and bluish dots alongside it. The spiracles on the sides of the body are black.  Older oleander hawk-moth larvae measure around 7.5 to 8.5 centimetres in length.  Just before it pupates, the oleander hawk-moth larva becomes browner in colour. ”  Most images of Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillars on our site are pre-pupal and browner in color.

Letter 6 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Malaysia

 

Subject:  What type of moth is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia
Date: 02/20/2019
Time: 03:10 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My niece found this interesting specimen in her garden today. Can you help,to identify it?
How you want your letter signed:  Best regards, Nancy Viscofsky

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Nancy,
This beautiful moth is an Oleander Hawkmoth.  The caterpillars feed on the leaves of oleander, a plant commonly grown in gardens and used in landscaping.

Thank you Daniel, I will pass this information to my niece. It is very kind of you to respond to my query.
Best regards,
Nancy

Letter 7 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: Huge Caterpillar
Location: Haifa, northern coast of Israel
April 12, 2013 4:39 am
I took this photo on 9th April, 2013 in Haifa, Israel in a residential area, just above sea level. It appears to be a caterpillar about six inches (15cm) long and an inch (3cm) wide. It’s lower half and head is an unpleasant shade of yellow, upper half is black, or near black with lots of white dots around the sides. Near the head are two spots which I would describe as looking like the eyes of a peacock tail (blue, greenish, with a black centre.
About 15 years ago I saw something very similar, about a mile away from where this picture was taken, only that caterpillar was much more colourful – same shade of yellow, black stripe down its back, but about five or six large ’peacock eye’ spots along its back. Also six inches long and an inch wide. I have never seen any others aside from these two, and when I asked the neighbours about it, they’d never seen one either. I sent a description of the first one I saw to several insect experts in various parts of the world, no one was able to identify it.
If it is a caterpillar, I’m wondering what sort of enormous, possibly man-eating butterfly it morphs into!
Signature: Kim Levy

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Kim,
This is the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii, and it can be found in many warmer climates where oleander is grown.  The adult Oleander Hawkmoth is a lovely green and pink moth.  Caterpillars often change color and leave the plants they were feeding upon when they are nearing the time to pupate.  You can learn more on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.

Daniel,
Many thanks for your very speedy reply!  I had no idea what Oleander is but when I checked the web page you sent I recognised it. Locally it’s known as cHarduf, the most common shrub in the country, it grows EVERYWHERE!
I was surprised you identified my caterpillar so quickly when experts failed to ID the description of the first one I saw, but to be fair it was a bit different, and I see no others like it on the link you sent, though it’s clearly the same type. I’ve only seen two of these caterpillars in the 25 years I’ve lived here, and what a shame I’ve never seen the moth because it’s absolutely beautiful!

Letter 8 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from India

 

Subject: What is this?
Location: India
February 3, 2017 7:29 am
Please identify
Signature: Promila

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Promila,
We have several images in our archives from India of Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillars, and we suspect you found this individual not far from an oleander shrub.  The adult Oleander Hawkmoth is a lovely green moth.

Letter 9 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from India

 

Subject: cateplillar with eyes to scare predators?
Location: gurgaon,india
December 1, 2013 8:41 am
We found this caterpillar in our garden- Gurgaon, India…and it looked beautiful and scary at first sight!!if there is one, does it mean there will be others too in our garden? in fact we saw another green with black strips ( pic-3) caterpillars in our garden!!
Our 8 year old daughter- Arushi- clicked these pictures….and we are very keen to find out more about them( both caterpillars )
Thanks
Signature: Arushi

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Arushi,
Do you have any oleander growing in your garden?  This is a common shrub planted in many gardens that have a climate without low or freezing winter temperatures.  It is the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii, and you are absolutely correct about the eyespots being effective deterrents against predation, especially from birds.  We are creating two distinct postings for your caterpillars so that categorization will be simplified.

Letter 10 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Daphnis Nerii Caterpillar!
You asked for it on 12/23/2005. The Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar. And here it is! I have just today taken a few pictures of this gorgeous specimen. We were walking just across an alley from the First Hawaiian Bank in Pukalani Hawaii, when my niece spotted it heading under a parked car. Well I had identified the hawkmoth some months ago on another bug ID site [BugGuide] and had been waiting to see one of these. I put it back off the parking lot, under the pink Nerii Oleanders so it can do its thing. I resisted the urge to put it in a bottle and watch it hatch. Please see the two attached images and you may use them to your hearts content. By the way, I have seen Oleander Hawkmoth’s all over this island. According to Bill Oekhe and the Hear website, this larvae is way out of season. (I think? Yeah that’s a question.) Thank you for spreading the beauty and understanding of our dear insect cousins. Monsters they are not!
Aloha,
Jesse Francis,
Maui

Hi Jesse,
Thank you so much for the great photos, awesome letter, and positive world view. Regarding them being off season, it is the second report we received today, the other from Crete. Shall we blame global warming?

Letter 11 – Oleander Hawk Moth

 

Pretty Pretty
Hi! Great site! I live in Kona, Hawaii and I love moths. We have gorgeous black witches everywhere. But the other day, we came home and found a moth on our driveway!!! I have never seen it before and I have checked through my moth books and can’t seem to find it. Can you tell me what it is and if it is native to Hawaii? I have been here 13 years and NEVER seen one! Thanks!
Tracee

I just emailed you, I forgot to tell you it’s stats! It was about the size of my palm (which I have a photo fo too I think, I will attach it). It was a very vibrant green with whites, rose, and purple. It was very fuzzy and it let me pick it up on it’s leaf. It had eye’s at the top of the wings (you can see them kinda in the other photo I sent).

Hi Tracee,
You have sent in a photograph of Deilephila [Daphnis] nerii, the Oleander Hawk Moth. It feeds on oleander as well as periwinkle. Here is a site that identifies Hawaiian Hawk Moths. The Oleander Sphinx is also reported in Great Britain, where it strays occasionally from the Mediterranean. It is also reported in Hong Kong and Africa.

Letter 12 – Oleander Hawk Moth

 

Oleander Sphinx Moth picture
Dearest Bugman,
Our 9 year old daughter came running into the house late one evening. "DADDY!! There’s a HUGE butterfly outside on the wall!! Nature lovers that we are, I went running outside in my pajamas, followed by our 13 year old son, to gaze on the latest wonders of creation. Lo and behold, one of the largest, most beautiful moths ever seen! We named it the "camouflage moth", as the colors were swirls of various shades of shimmering green, with some peach tinges thrown in for variety. The body was thick and heavy. We took some pictures and kept it for a couple of days to show the neighbors. When we sent it off, it flew off in a straight line with a low-pitched hum. I recently ran across your wonderful bug identification website, and was able to identify our friend as an Oleander Sphinx, Deilephila [Daphnis] nerii. Correct? There happen to be some oleander bushes in the park next door, so maybe that is why we were treated to the visit. We live in a northern neighborhood of Jerusalem, Israel. Thanks for a beautiful and informative website!
Moshe

Hi Moshe,
Thank you for your touching letter. It is wonderful that your photo has a hand for scale, revealing the size of your Oleander Hawk Moth.

Letter 13 – Oleander Hawkmoth and another Sphinx

 

Hummingbird Moth and another in Zambia, Africa
I am a Canadian, and freelance journalist, living in Zambia (for the last 3 years) where my husband is a commercial pilot. The hummingbird moth in Zambia is fascinating to watch and I would like to do a story about this for a Zambian Travel publication. Thank you for your website which is very interesting. I am attaching a photograph I was able to take of the ‘Zambian’ hummingbird moth in my garden. I would be most grateful if you could identify (conclusively) for me its name and any other insights you may have. One aspect that I have noticed is – it only comes out to eat at the flowers after a rain shower or indeed during light rains. I am also attaching a photo of another moth that I recently discovered on our car tyre. I did not see it in flight but was astounded by its beauty and would appreciate any information you can give me on this too. Many thanks for your help.Yours sincerely,
Gillian Slade

Hi Gillian,
First you should know that Hummingbird Moth does not refer to a single species. Moths in the family Sphingidae are referred to commonly as Sphinx Moths. Some are also known collectively as Hawkmoths or Hummingbird Moths. Hummingbird Moths are usually day flying species that are often confused for Hummingbirds. That said, we do not know what species your Hummingbird Moth is. The photo isn’t detailed enough. Your other moth is a member of the same family and is commonly referred to as the Oleander Hawkmoth, Daphnis nerii. Hope that helps begin your story research.

Letter 14 – Oleander Hawk Moth

 

Identify
Hi,
Loved your site, very helpful. A month ago, a moth took its last flight straight to my front door entrance in Israel. I tried to identify it, but I’m not sure, is it Daphnis nerii? If yes, doesn’t it supposed to have purple spots instead of brown ones?
Thanks,
Hilla

Hi Hilla,
You are correct, this is an Oleander Hawkmoth. Sometimes there is individual color variation.

Letter 15 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Pandora sphinx
Here are a couple of pics I was just wondering if you can tell me a little about it. I live i Hawaii and its the first time Ive seen one. It has been in the same spot for two days know. Well thats about it, I know what it is just cant really find out anything about them. Other than that just thought you might like the pictures.
Miguel

Hi MIguel,
Your moth is not a Pandora Sphinx, but an Oleander Hawkmoth, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii. Both are green moths and could be easily confused. According to Bill Oehlke’s excellent site: “The Oleander Hawk Moth, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii (Wing span: 90–110mm) is primarily associated with “the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969). Along the Mediterranean, there is no clear distinction between resident and migrant populations. Permanent populations exist in suitable locations in Sicily, Crete and Cyprus; however, over a number of favourable years further colonies may be established in those islands and also in southern Italy and southern Greece, all of which die out during a hard winter.” “Extra-limital range. From Afghanistan eastward to south-east Asia and the Philippines; as a migrant, it penetrates northwards into central Europe and central southern Asia. In 1974, this species was recorded as having established itself in Hawaii (Beardsley, 1979). ” Later the site states: “Deilephila nerii ‘rests by day, either on a solid surface or suspended among foliage with which it blends; the head is tucked in, with the thorax and abdomen raised off the underlying substrate. Most emerge late in the evening but do not take flight until just before dawn, to feed avidly from such flowers as Nicotiana, Petunia, Lonicera, Saponaria and Mirabilis. Thereafter, flight periods are mainly just after dusk and before dawn. Under warm conditions, adults are extremely wary and, if disturbed, will take flight even during daylight hours.’ ” The host food plant for the caterpillar is the Oleander and the use of this plant as an ornamental is primarily responsible for the range expansion.

Letter 16 – Oleander Hawk Moth

 

some kind of Sphinx Moth???
Well this is one of our more colorful moths, is it some kind of Sphinx moth? I live in "upcountry" 2500 ft Hawaii in Waimea where it is often cooler and misty. In Nov and Dec, we get these moths. I have seen the larva and they are too creepy for me to pick up, but the moths are "all tuckered out" and lathargic. They will stay on one wall in a quiet place for at least 2 days. I like the shape of the wings and subtle coloration, and the little turned up tail. Reminds me of a sea plane for some reason. What are the pros and cons of such a critter?
Jock Goodman
btw I shot this with an old 3 Mp sony DSC S-70 digital camera that I still like best for macro even though I am on my 4 th camera after this dinosaur. I use a Nikon D-70s for sports,(surfing, rodeo, moto X races) and landscapes.

Hi Jock
Your Sphinx is an Oleander Hawk Moth, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii, depending upon the author. According to Bill Oehlke’s site the range is: “the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan” but the moth is included in the Hawaii section of his site since it was recorded as having established itself there in 1974. The host plant is oleander. If the lovely insect is to be accused of any bad behavior, it would come from oleander enthusiasts who are upset at loosing some blossoms and leaves due to the caterpillar’s ravenous appetites. We would love a caterpillar photo sometime.

Letter 17 – Oleander Hawkmoth: Conspiracy Theory

 

??
Dear Bugman
What’s this bug?! My son needs to know for his school project, hoping you can help.
Many Thanks
James

Hi James,
In exchange for helping your son on his project, we are hoping you will write us back and tell us where you photographed this lovely Oleander Hawkmoth. We have located it on Bill Oehlke’s awesome site. According to the site: “The Oleander Hawk Moth, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii (Wing span: 90–110mm) is primarily associated with the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969). Along the Mediterranean, there is no clear distinction between resident and migrant populations. Permanent populations exist in suitable locations in Sicily, Crete and Cyprus; however, over a number of favourable years further colonies may be established in those islands and also in southern Italy and southern Greece, all of which die out during a hard winter. Extra-limital range. From Afghanistan eastward to south-east Asia and the Philippines; as a migrant, it penetrates northwards into central Europe and central southern Asia. In 1974, this species was recorded as having established itself in Hawaii (Beardsley, 1979). ” So James, where are you?

Ed Note:((12/01/2005)
Over the next several days we received the same image from several people. Here was our written response and the followup:
Why is everyone sending in this exact photo for identification? I sent a detailed response to James two days ago and now two people from your government organization have sent in the same image. We are beginning to suspect a conspiracy theory.

sorry we are doing an xmas quiz and identifying the moth is one of the questions, thank you for your help.

Letter 18 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Singapore

 

Oleander Hawkmoth! In Singapore!
Hi! Im guessing this is an oleander hawkmoth? I found this hanging on the plant at my balcony the whole day! Im guess its rare to find this species in Singapore as ive seen most of those posted is your site are found in around the Mediterranean. Hope you can tell me more about e moth. Thanks,
Nic

Hi Nic,
The Oleander Hawkmoth is a wide ranging species and that includes Singapore. It is not that the moth is rare in Singapore, but that we have few contributors from Singapore.

Letter 19 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Cool Green Moth
Hi Bugman!
(I’m not sure my first message went through so I’m sending another.) My daughter Alexa and I really love your site. We live in Kona, Hawaii where we get a lot of really cool bugs. Alexa’s grandparents, Doug and Linda, live up the hill from us and my mom Linda also shares a keen interest in bugs. When she finds dead specimens, she’ll often keep them in the freezer for us to check out later. Anyway, Linda took the attached picture of this beautiful green moth she found in her entryway. We get lots of big moths here, but we’ve never seen one quite like this one. Although she was really excited about this bug, she resisted the urge to try to capture it and all we are left with is the picture. Any ideas about what kind of moth this is?
Jeff Lanterman

Hi again Jeff and Alexa,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth one of the Sphinx Moths. We have gotten numerous photos of this species from the Hawaiian Islands.

Letter 20 – Oleander Hawkmoth: Lighting Comparison

 

Oleander Hawk Moth
Check out this beauty! Both Attachments are the same moth! One was taken in incandescent light and the other florescent and snapped a few images!! Arline came out from the kitchen and said there is a moth on her sink. I went in and moved it to two different locations. Keep the Spirit of Aloha alive!
Michael F. O’Brien
Waikoloa, HI

Hi Michael,
Your new photos of this species are much better than the original one you sent our way. It is great having the comparison of “Color as Seen and Photographed” which is a wonderful Kodak publication, long out of print. The fluorescent lighting really accentuates the greens, and the warmer incandescent lighting makes the moth appear almost brown. Congratulations on getting your images posted on Bill Oehlke’s wonderful site.

Letter 21 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Oleander Hawk Moth in Waikoloa, Hawaii?
10 January 2007
Aloha Daniel & Bill!
Two evenings as I was closing up my office and going into the house I was greeting by this moth on the sheers on the French doors. I went back to my office and picked up my new digital camera and went back in and took four shots. My wife and I have called this moth ‘The Camouflage Moth.’ Several of its kind have flown into our house in the past nine years and unfortunately many of them have not found their way out. I found Daniel’s Website. It is excellent. It looks like last night’s moth was an Oleander Hawk Moth, but all those in the Website are greenish. Mine is brownish! Otherwise the markings seem to be the same. Is there a brown morph? I took this shot with available indoor lighting, but it dod not look green to me at the time. We do have four constantly blooming oleanders on the property, also Periwinkle (Vinca). And several oleander hedges up and down our street. Waikoloa in on the western and leeward/dry side of Hawaii’s Big Island. There was a wonderful moth in Korea (most likely a sphinx moth) that all Westerners thought was a hummingbird! My wife and I lived in Seoul, Korea for thirty-four years. These moths used to frequent our balcony and get their nectar from my hot pink petunias There are no hummingbirds in the Eastern Hemisphere.
Thank you,
Michael

Hi Again Michael,
That new camera of yours is sure getting a workout. We have gotten many photos of the Oleander Hawkmoth from Hawaii this week. In our opinion, your moth does appear green. There will always be some color variations within a species. The Pandora Sphinx from the mainland is another Sphinx that is often called a Camouflage Moth by our readership.

Letter 22 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Oleander Hawk Moth?
Is this an Oleander Hawk Moth? I found it on my shorts hanging on the clothes line! I knew it was a moth, because if it was a butterfly, I wouldn’t have freaked out! I live in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was the prettiest moth I’ve every seen! I usually see those ugly brown ones…Thanks!
Sharlene

Hi Sharlene,
Your identification of the Oleander Hawkmoth is correct.

Letter 23 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Oleander Hawk Moth
Here is a photo of a moth I saw in Kihei, Maui, Hawaii in Feb this year. I’m guessing it is a Oleander Hawk Moth. Earlier today in Wailuku. Maui I saw what looked like a Stripe Morning Sphinyx, which got me searching and I found your site. Thanks for such a great collection of photos and information!
Paul Harper,
Maui, Hawaii

Hi Paul,
You are absolutely correct. This is indeed an Oleander Hawkmoth.

Letter 24 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Camouflage Moth in Uganda…
Hi,
I’d sent this pic in a while ago, but hadn’t heard anything…just thought I’d try again! I found this moth in Jinja, Uganda. It was pretty close to the start of the Nile. I’ve paged through the moths on your site, and I didn’t see anything that looked like it (to me). I’d love to know what it is! Thanks,
Megan

Hi Megan,
We are sorry we never responded, but your original letter most likely is lost in the black hole that is our email inbox. This is an Oleander Hawkmoth, a species with a very wide distribution. The scientific name is Daphnis neri and it can be found on Wikipedia.

Letter 25 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

What in the world is this???
Hello – I am currently deployed to Basra, Iraq and I found this “moth” on the back of our truck yesterday. We noticed it in the morning and didn’t mess with it. When we came back to our vehicle several hours later in the day (after driving and making several stops), it was STILL there. We checked to see if it was alive and it moved. We just took some pictures of it and left it alone. Can you tell me what this is???? THANKS!
RAJA N. PANCHAL, TSGT, USAF

Hi Raja,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth, a sphinx moth found in many parts of the world including the Mediterranean, Hawaii, and the Middle East. The larval food plant is the oleander.

Letter 26 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

oleander hawk moth
We have lived in cyprus for over ten years and have never come across anything as colourful as this moth, (thanx to your site we found out what it was). Not only did we have this one in our kitchen, a week or so later we had another in the house, my questions being how long do they live for, and why are they called oleander hawk moths ? many thanks
stewart
karaman

Hi Stewart,
The caterpillers eat oleander leaves, hence the name. Adult moths probably live about six weeks.

Letter 27 – Oleander Hawk Moth from Turkey

 

zoomed in pic of moth
Hi bugman,
I wrote a week ago asking what kind of moth this was. I was looking at the pic I emailed in and noticed I couldn’t zoom in very much before it got blurry. So I cropped the original (I was too lazy to get my hard drive out and get the original the first time.) So here is a better zoom in of it. Like I said before we found it in our front yard on a rose bush, and we live in Turkey, close to Adana. I thought it was such a beautiful moth. Thanks,
Steph

Hi Steph,
Thanks for resending your photo of an Oleander Hawk Moth, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii. This truly beautiful moth has an extensive range due to the use of its larval food plant, the Oleander, in landscaping. Bill Oehlke has the following information posted to his awesome website: “primarily associated with ‘the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969). Along the Mediterranean, there is no clear distinction between resident and migrant populations. Permanent populations exist in suitable locations in Sicily, Crete and Cyprus; however, over a number of favourable years further colonies may be established in those islands and also in southern Italy and southern Greece, all of which die out during a hard winter.’ and ‘Extra-limital range. From Afghanistan eastward to south-east Asia and the Philippines; as a migrant, it penetrates northwards into central Europe and central southern Asia. In 1974, this species was recorded as having established itself in Hawaii (Beardsley, 1979).’ “

Letter 28 – Oleander Hawk Moth Caterpillar

 

oleander hawkmoth (sphinx)?
Dear Bugman,
Thanks for a great website! I found your site while trying to identify a caterpillar that we found on the gardenia bush in our garden in Khartoum, Sudan. I didn’t find the same caterpillar on your site, but found enough lookalikes to be sure that it was a hawkmoth / sphinx caterpillar (I’d thought it was a butterfly caterpillar) and so was able to find it by searching on “gardenia” and “hawkmoth”. It’s almost identical to the caterpillar on this page: http://tpittaway.tripod.com/sphinx/d_ner.htm It eats faster than any caterpillar I’ve ever seen, and is now as big asmy index finger (it had just hatched when I found it) Looking for more information, I ended up back on your site where you have quite a few pictures of the adult moths, all from Hawaii, I think. We also get a lot of swallowtails on our lemon trees. Any idea what type of swallowtails these are? (not much tail in evidence, I know, but it is a swallowtail isn’t it? The caterpillars and crysallis look right.
Thanks again for fascinating website- I’ll certainly visit often as my kids and I are avid bug hunters, and find it difficult to identify much of what we find, as I’m more familiar with the bugs found back home in England.
Katy

Hi Katy,
We are very happy you sent in your Oleander Sphinx Caterpillar as it will help other readers identify their caterpillars. We are unsure what species of swallowtail in Sudan feeds on lemon.

Letter 29 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar: Two in a Row!!!

 

Caterpillar
We saw this in our garden in Crete. What will it turn into?
Regards Ian

Hi Ian,
This is the second Oleander Hawkmoth, Daphnis nerii, Caterpillar photo we received today, the other from Maui Hawaii. It matures into a lovely green moth and there is currently a photo on our homepage.

Letter 30 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Dog-looking caterpiller (Maui, Hawaii)
Ah Ha!
I am on your website now and was wondering if it may be a type of borer beetle. Very cool! I have a caterpillar photo to show you as well. I know we have some very large moths (the size of bats) here and I can only imagine that this could be from one of those types of species. The caterpillar head/face looked a little like a dog. This is the only caterpillar like this that we have ever seen here. It whipped strongly when nudged so we didn’t touch it. Unfortunately it died within a day of being in the glass jar so we added water to it, agitated lightly to wash away the small green dotted saliva stuff and put it on the driveway for better photos.Thanks for having such a great site! Living in the tropics for all these years has been easier with your site to help identify all the creatures we discover!
With aloha,
Michelle
Kihei, Maui, Hawaii

Hi Michelle,
This is the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii. The caterpillar looks like it might be ready to pupate, and perhaps is not really dead.

Letter 31 – Oleander Hawk Moth Caterpillar drowned in Cyprus swimming pool

 

Dear Mr Bugman,
I live in Cyprus (south west area) yesterday whilst cleaning the swimming pool, the attached was found dead in the bottom, I have tried to find out information, unsuccessfully, so at this point I am asking for your help in identifying the above, also any possibly explanation as to how it would have ended up where it did, there is no damage on it at all. I look forward to receiving your answer on this matter. Thanks for your assistance.
Janet Hughes

Hi Janet,
This appears to be an Oleander Hawk Moth Caterpillar, Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii. If you have an oleander shrub nearby, the caterpillar probably left the shrub to pupate. Pupation occurs occurs underground. Many caterpillars change color just before pupation, which would explain the pink color.

Letter 32 – Oleander Hawk Moth

 

Oleander Hawk Moth (?) on Maui
Fri, Dec 5, 2008 at 2:44 PM
I’ve tentatively identified this moth (see attached image) as an Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii). Does that seem correct? Pertinent info: Photo shot on a palm tree trunk near Pukalani, Maui (Hawai’i); altitude > 3,000 feet. Wingspan is about 10 cm. Any info you can provide is appreciated. Mahalo nui loa!
PS. GREAT website!!!
Malama aina!
Maui Mike
Pukalani, Maui, Hawai’i

Oleander Hawk Moth
Oleander Hawk Moth

Hi Maui Mike,
Your identification of an Oleander Hawk Moth is absolutely correct.  We haven’t posted a photo of this species in a very long time and we are happy to add your image to our archives.

Letter 33 – Oleander Hawk Moth from India

 

a moth
Sun, Feb 8, 2009 at 3:54 AM
i just saw a moth in our locality that needs to be identified please help me out with it the moth had green colouring with stripes of purple and light pink.
ketul.barot
mumbai,maharashtra,india

Oleander Hawk Moth
Oleander Hawk Moth

Dear Ketul.Barot,
Your moth is an Oleander Hawk Moth, Deilephila nerii or sometimes Daphnis nerii , according to Bill Oehlke’s wonderful web site which indicates the range as “the southern Mediterranean region,  North Africa and the Middle East  to Afghanistan.”  The species has also been introduced to Hawaii and the use of the cultivated food plant oleander in many areas will no doubt result in additional range expansion beyond the current reports of Southeast Asia and the Philippines.

Letter 34 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

caterpillar
October 19, 2009
Funky worm… you know what it is?
Doug
My backyard on the island of Maui, HI.

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Doug,
It doesn’t appear to be feeding on oleander, but it looks like an Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar.  According to Bill Oehlke’s website, in addition to oleander, the caterpillar is also known to feed on “Minor hostplants are Vinca, Vitis, Gardenia, Asclepias, Jasminum, Trachelospermum, Amsonia, Carissa, Tabernaemontana, Mangifera, Rhazya, Adenium, Catharanthus, Ipomoea and Thevetia. Larvae will also feed on Ligustrum ovalifolium in captivity.

Letter 35 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Egypt

 

Large green moth
February 5, 2010
Saw this moth on a wall at the temple of Philae at Aswan in Egypt. It was 6 to 8 inchesf rom wingtip to wingtip. There was no vegetation for dozens of yards in any direction..
P Tucker
Aswan Egypt

Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi P Tucker,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth, a species that is relatively common in the Mediterranean region, in Africa and in Asia.

Hi Daniel
Thank you very much for your explanation.
Kind regards
Phil Tucker

Letter 36 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Israel

 

Is it an Oleander Hawk Moth?
March 19, 2010
I’ve spotted this cute looking moth at a playground, fortunately I happened to have my camera with me. It’s a rather large moth – I would say around 8-10 cm wingspan. Searching the web, I found it to resemble the Oleander Hawk Moth –
wp-content/uploads/2009/02/oleander_hawkmoth_india.jpg
only my fellow is yellow-brown rather than green. Can you help me identify it please?
Gal
Israel, Tel Aviv area

Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi Gal,
The markings on your moth sure look like those of the Oleander Hawkmoth, Daphnis nerii, but as you point out, the coloration is unusual.  We found a Sphingidae of Israel website that pictures an Oleander Hawkmoth, and nothing else pictured looks remotely similar.  The Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic website does show a more brown specimen, but it also depicts a closely related species on another page, Daphnis hypothous, that is brown.  The site indicates that a white  spot on the forewing apex identifies the latter species, and that spot is missing from your specimen.  We believe your specimen is a color variation of the Oleander Hawkmoth, but we will contact Bill Oehlke to verify that identification.

Letter 37 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Hawaii

 

unusual bug in Hawaii
Location:  Maui, Hawaii
October 17, 2010 7:58 am
Aloha. I live on Maui and purchased a plant at Home Depot a few days ago. The time of year is currently mid-October. Today I noticed what I thought was a discolored leaf, and when I went to pick it off, I was startled that it felt like a moth. It was a very beautiful insect with its wings spread and I quickly grabbed my camera and took a few shots. It was green and white with a wing span of about three inches or more. I have never seen anything quite like this and can’t seem to identify it. Do you know what this green and white flying insect that I found in Hawaii is? Mahalo.
Signature:  Diana in Hawaii

Puss inspects Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi Diana,
It seems your puss is quite enthralled with this lovely Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii.  According to Bill Oehlke’s website, Sphingidae of the Americas, the Oleander Hawkmoth is an old world species found in “the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan” and “In 1974, this species was recorded as having established itself in Hawaii.”

Oleander Hawkmoth

Letter 38 – Pupa of an Oleander Hawkmoth from Crete

 

Huge pupae
Location:  Crete, Greece
October 17, 2010 2:28 am
Dear Bugman,
This large (over 7cm) pupae dropped from a large flower pot I moved this morning. I think it may be from the hawk-moth family as it is so big!!
Can you identify it for me please and satisfy my curiosity.
Think your site is great for info – thanks.
Signature:  Cathy P

Oleander Hawkmoth Pupa

Hi Cathy,
This is the pupa of an Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii, which we just identified on the Sphingidae of the Americas website.  Coincidentally, we just posted two photos of an adult Oleander Hawkmoth that were sent to us from Hawaii.  The Oleander Hawkmoth is native to the Mediterranean region, but the cultivation of oleander as a garden plant has resulted in the range expansion, including Hawaii sometime before 1974.

Oleander Hawkmoth Pupa

Letter 39 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Hawail

 

large green armored bug (moth?)
Location: Lahaina, Maui, HI
February 1, 2011 12:33 am
I asked some locals, but no one seems to know what this is. Everyone is impressed by it though. It was about 3”x3” more or less. All feedback is greatly appreciated
Signature: Cindy

Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi Cindy,
The Oleander Hawkmoth pictured in your photograph is a species native to Africa and Asia, but because its caterpillar feeds upon the leaves of the poisonous oleander, the range of the species now includes Hawaii because the climate is conducive to survival and the food plant is cultivated.  According to the Sphingidae of the Americas website:  “In 1974, this species was recorded as having established itself in Hawaii.

Letter 40 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

ID of caterpillar
Location: Hawi, North Kohala, Hawaii Island
February 11, 2011 3:10 am
Can you help ID this caterpillar
Signature: Hawi

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Hawi,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar, a species introduced to Hawaii that has naturalized because of the cultivation of its food plant, the oleander.

Letter 41 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Kona BUG!!!
Location: Kailua Kona, HI
February 16, 2011 7:26 pm
This was one of the most BEAUTIFUL bugs I have ever seen. It was HUGE to boot.
What is it??
Signature: Mesha

Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi Mesha,
This beautiful moth is an Oleander Hawkmoth.  It has become naturalized in Hawaii due to the cultivation of the larval food plant, Oleander.

Letter 42 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Island off Thailand

 

Bug identification
Location: Koh Samui
August 1, 2011 2:56 am
Hi guys,
found this rather amazing creature on the small airport of Koh Samui, on the last day of our vacation (30th of July). It was dead when we found it. Was quite big (maybe 5 cm long). Hope you can shed some light on the nature of this thing 🙂
Signature: Niels Matthijs

Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi Niels,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth,
Deilephila nerii, and because it is a strong flier, its range has increased in recent years due to the cultivation of its food plant, oleander, in gardens that have a mild climate.  We needed to do our research to learn that Koh Samui is an island off Thailand.  You can read more about the Oleander Hawkmoth on the Sphingidae of the Americas website where the species is included because it has been introduced to Hawaii.

Letter 43 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Afghanistan

 

A hard looking moth
Location: Kabul, Afghanistan
December 1, 2011 12:24 am
Hi,
I spotted this outside my room in Kabul.
It’s starting to freeze now which is why I guess he’s static.
He lloks like he could tackle the Taliban
Signature: Umph

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Umph,
In the past, sometimes our readers have described Hawkmoths as looking like stealth bombers.  Your Hawkmoth is an Oleander Hawkmoth.

Letter 44 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Pandora Sphinx??
Location: Oman, Middle East
February 20, 2012 2:13 am
Dear Mr Bugman
I am currently living in Muscat in Oman and this morning I found this moth lazing on the leg of a chair in my garden. I did some research and it led me to your site and I (think) it might be a Pandora Sphinx Moth….. Is this correct? Do they come to the Middle East (Oman)?
Thank you
Signature: Alex

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Alex,
While your moth does superficially resemble a Pandora Sphinx, that North American species would not be found in the middle east.  The Oleander Hawkmoth, however, can be found in your area and that is the correct identification for this beautiful moth.

Letter 45 – Oleander Hawkmoth emerges in Thailand classroom

 

Identification Request:  Thailand Caterpillar
March 22, 2012
Location:  Thailand
Hi there!  It’s with much fanfare that our caterpillar has emerged.  We were surprised at how long it hung around (we think drying its wings).  Picture attached.
Thank you so much for your help in our classroom.
Living in Thailand, I anticipate we’ll have a lot more pictures of critters to send your way in our quest to learn more about insects.  Your website is fantastic.
Regards,
Teacher Becky

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Teacher Becky,
We are happy your students got to witness the eclosion of this lovely Oleander Hawkmoth.  Thanks for providing a followup to your earlier letter.

Letter 46 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from India

 

Subject: What that catterpillar
Location: Uttrakhand, India
November 8, 2012 9:08 am
Dear Bugman,I was visiting my village in Ramnagar in The Tarai region of Uttrakhand in October this year and found this beautiful catterpillar. I clicked these pictures but this bug was really moving fast so I could not click its full length picture. Please identify this guy. My 11 year daughter is also really interested inknowing more about it.
Regards
Satish Singh Bisht
Signature: Satish Singh Bisht

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Satish,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii.

Letter 47 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: insect in my compound
Location: vadodara,gujarat,india
December 28, 2012 10:13 am
I found this insect in my compound …plz identify it…i m eager to know the name…i m sending the pik….e mail me the name …its a kind request..thank you…:)
Signature: tanmay

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear tanmay,
This is the caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth and since it feeds on oleander, it is found in many parts of the world where that ornamental plant is grown.  This individual is ready for pupation.  When they are ready to go into the dormant state of metamorphosis, they turn from green to orange/brown.

Letter 48 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: Large worm
Location: Near Lanseria Airport. South Africa
April 1, 2014 10:55 am
We discovered this worm in our garden recently.
About 100mm long and 12-15mm thick
Any ideas please?
Signature: Mike A

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Mike,
Do you have an oleander shrub in your garden?  This is the Caterpillar of an Oleander Hawkmoth.

Hi Daniel
We do indeed!
My wife now tells me that it is an extremely poisonous bush!
Our dogs had found the worm and were carrying it around the garden. Fortunately they did not harm or puncture it.
Thanks for responding.
Kind regards
Mike Abraham

Letter 49 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Israel

 

Subject: Pandorus sphinx moth
Location: ISRAEL
May 10, 2014 1:27 pm
Hello,
Yesterday I spotted a very unusual bug. Turns out to be a pandorus sphinx moth.
Spotted in midday on a car tire. By what I read it is native to North America and here is my question: I live in Israel! Have you heard of these moths migrating such long distances? Is it something I should be worried about and report to the authorities if it isn’t native to this region?
I hope the picture came out clear. I photographed it from my other camera. Is this indeed the pandorus sphinx moth?
Thank you
Signature: Tina

Oleander Hawkmoth
Oleander Hawkmoth

Hi Tina,
This is not a Pandorus Sphinx, however, it is a moth in the same family Sphingidae.  Your moth is an Oleander Hawkmoth.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you for your prompt response.
There are oleander flowers in the area so that could be why it’s here.
And thank you for solving my little “mystery”.
Tina

Letter 50 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar in Turkey

 

Subject: Larva
Location: Yesiluzumlu, Turkey
October 6, 2014 1:27 am
We found this larva in the road outside our villa in the foothills of the mountains near Fethiye in Turkey.
It was greatly extended from how the photos show it and extremely sensitive, seemingly to light and vibration, and whipped about surprisingly quickly when disturbed.
Signature: P Tucker

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear P Tucker,
We are surmising that there is oleander planted near the sighting as this is an Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar.

Letter 51 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Assam

 

Subject: please identify the caterpiller
Location: guwahati, Assam
January 25, 2015 11:15 am
one of m friend found this caterpillar in he garden…by looking at the photo, i van assume that it is a fifth instar larva..which is a mature one..ready to form coccon…but i couldnot identify it…so please help me in knowing its common name and also its scientific name if possible.
Signature: Trishna sarma

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Trishna,
We are speculating that your friend has an oleander plant growing near where this caterpillar was found.  The caterpillar is an Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar, a species that is listed under two different scientific names: 
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii.

Letter 52 – Oleander Hawkmoth from India

 

Subject: What is this insect?
Location: Bangalore, India
February 16, 2015 7:54 am
This picture was sent to me by one of my friends. I have never seen an insect like this. To me it appears to be a moth but i’m totally naive in this. But i was interested in finding out this little guy’s name. So i searched the internet and found your website good. Can you please tell about it.???
Signature: Shubhojeet

Oleander Hawkmoth from India
Oleander Hawkmoth from India

Dear Shubhojeet,
You are correct that this is a moth, more specificially an Oleander Hawkmoth.

Letter 53 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Hawaii

 

Subject: Found in Kauai
Location: Kauai Hawaii Poipu Beach
November 11, 2015 9:50 pm
Please indentify this beautiful bug.
Signature: Easy way

Oleander Hawkmoth
Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Easy way,
This Oleander Hawkmoth is an introduced species in Hawaii that is able to survive because of the cultivation of oleander, its larval food plant.

Letter 54 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Tanzania

 

Subject: Unknown Caterpilar
Location: Tanzania
January 19, 2016 8:43 am
Hi,
A friend of mine from Arusha-Tanzania has posted this picture on his FB account wondering witch
species this is. Been searching the internet and i can only find pictures but no description of the species.
So in order to help him and solve my own curiosity ;P i’m asking The bugman or help.
Friendly greetings from a Belgian in France 😛
Signature: Kurt Vogeleer

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Kurt,
This is the caterpillar of an Oleander Hawkmoth,
Daphnis nerii, and its color indicates it is getting ready to pupate.  We found the species listed on African Moths and this wide ranging species is reported throughout much of Africa.  The adult Oleander Hawkmoth is a stunning green moth.

Letter 55 – Oleander Hawkmoth from India

 

Subject: Identify this moth like giant insect
Location: Tamil nadu INDIA
February 10, 2016 12:52 am
Please find the insects details . i found it in my apartments in INDIA
Signature: Vishal

Oleander Hawkmoth
Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Vishal,
This beautiful moth is the wide ranging Oleander Hawkmoth.

Letter 56 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Liberia

 

Subject: grasshopper?
Location: Kakata, Liberia, west Africa
May 14, 2016 11:20 pm
This beautiful insect landed on our door and stayed a while. It flies. A science teacher here thought it was a grasshopper, but we’re wondering as it doesn’t seem to have those “hopper” legs. Thanks!
Signature: Lynn

Oleander Hawkmoth
Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Lynn,
You were correct to doubt the science teacher.  This is an Oleander Hawkmoth, a member of a distinctly different insect order than a Grasshopper.  The normal range of the Oleander Hawkmoth has increased sigfnificantly with the cultivation of oleander as a flowering garden shrub.

Oleander Hawkmoth
Oleander Hawkmoth

Letter 57 – Oleander Hawkmoth from India

 

Subject: unusual big moth
Location: kerala- India ,asian continent
July 31, 2016 12:23 pm
Hai.. I am from india.. Its south of india.. I saw a large moth in my bedroom .. I was scared.. Wn i saw it clearly i realized its not a common one in india.. So i took some pictures of it.. I searched about it.. Is it Eumorpha pandorus??????… Is it migrated to india???…
Signature: Deepthi

Oleander Hawkmoth
Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Deepthi,
Eumorpha pandorus, the Pandorus Sphinx, is a North American species, though it is green like your native Oleander Hawkmoth.  The Oleander Hawkmoth has greatly increased its range due to the cultivation of its larval food plant, the oleander shrub.

Letter 58 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Thailand

 

Subject: What’s this?
Location: Thailand
December 3, 2016 6:03 am
This csme from a friend on Thailand.
Signature: Klr

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar
Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Klr,
This Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar is a very wide ranging species that feeds on the leaves of oleander.

Letter 59 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from India

 

Subject: Swallowtail Catterpillar
Location: New Delhi India
January 4, 2017 4:55 am
Hi,
You’ve been very helpful till now, i found this fat big caterpillar, i think it is a swallowtail, but which species ?
thank you kindly
Signature: Aditi

Oleander Hawkmoth Hornworm

Dear Aditi,
This is not a Swallowtail Caterpillar, and it is not even a Butterfly Caterpillar, but rather a Hawkmoth Caterpillar, commonly called a Hornworm.  It is an Oleander Hawkmoth Hornworm.  It will mature into an Oleander Hawkmoth, so we are speculating there was an oleander shrub nearby.  The species is not found without oleander.

Hey Daniel,
I figured after sending you a request, as i was googling more caterpillars with black markings, we have Yellow Oleander trees in access. Thanks,
Aditi

Letter 60 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Tanzania

 

Subject: Identification Request
Location: Arusha, Tanzania
January 19, 2017 7:26 pm
Hi there,
Here are a few interesting ‘bugs’ I photographed while living in Tanzania between 2008 and 2011. Hoping you can help me (finally) identify exactly what they are 🙂
Many thanks
Signature: Tom Broughton

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Tom,
This is either an Oleander Hawkmoth or a closely related species in the same genus.  Our doubt regarding the specificity arises from the statement on the Sphingidae of Hawaii site (where it is an introduced species) that “The Oleander Hawk Moth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii (Wing span: 90–110mm) is primarily associated with “the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969). Along the Mediterranean, there is no clear distinction between resident and migrant populations. Permanent populations exist in suitable locations in Sicily, Crete and Cyprus; however, over a number of favourable years further colonies may be established in those islands and also in southern Italy and southern Greece, all of which die out during a hard winter.  Extra-limital range. From Afghanistan eastward to south-east Asia and the Philippines; as a migrant, it penetrates northwards into central Europe and central southern Asia. In Africa it ocurs at least as far south as southern Cameroon.”

Letter 61 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from India

 

Subject: Oleander Hawmoth Caterpillar
Location: Gujarat, India
February 5, 2017 5:22 pm
Hello Sir ,
It is pleasure to finally write to you. Your website has encouraged me to take up Zoology . It has been fun and i am identifying new species everyday. I am very grateful for all your help to every teen around the world like me. Today i am posting one of my very first identification . The Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar just before pupating. I like how it changes colour . Hope you like it .
Thank you.
Signature: Rajrajeshwar

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Rajrajeshwar,
We are so happy to hear our website is having a positive impact on youth around the world.  Your Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar image is the second example from India we have posted this week.  Because of the popularity of oleander as a garden plant, the Oleander Hawkmoth has expanded its population well beyond its natural range, including its naturalization in Hawaii.

Letter 62 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

 

Subject: caterpillar
Location: east end Moloka’i
June 29, 2017 11:21 am
Aloha, Found this guy yesterday here on east end of Moloka’i , haven’t found a description to match.. hope you all can help Mahalo, Terry
Signature: Terry

Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Dear Terry,
Like many plants and creatures found in Hawaii, the Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar is a non-native, introduced species.

Letter 63 – Oleander Hawkmoth from India

 

Subject:  Green moth
Location:  Kochi, Kerala, india
August 25, 2017 6:18 AM
This moth with excellent camouflage was clicked in our garden two weeks ago. I showed the pic to a few friends who too had trouble picking it out..I can’t recall having seen a similar one earlier. Could you identify it please?
Signature:  Kiran

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Kiran,
This beautiful, wide ranging moth is an Oleander Hawkmoth.  As its name implies, the caterpillar feeds on oleander.

Hi Daniel
Wow! That was really fast!!
Thanks a lot.You are great people and I love your site
Dr kiran

Letter 64 – Oleander Hawkmoth from India

 

Subject:  A beautiful flying bug with mixed texture of colours on whole feathers and body
Geographic location of the bug:  India
Date: 01/06/2018
Time: 03:51 AM EDT
Please can anyone identify the bug…is it dangerous or not
How you want your letter signed:  Not really required

Oleander Hawkmoth

This gorgeous moth is an Oleander Hawkmoth, a species native to Asia that has been introduced to many other locations where oleander, the food plant for the caterpillar, is cultivated in gardens, including Hawaii.

Letter 65 – Oleander Hawkmoth from “an open grass field” in a “tropical country”

 

Subject:  A beautiful bug
Geographic location of the bug:  In an open grass field/tropical country
Date: 01/11/2018
Time: 09:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi. I just want to know what kind of insect in the attached photo is. I accidentally touched it and flew to our table. The back of our house is an open field with grass, trees.
I hope for your response. Thank you in advance.
How you want your letter signed:  eybi

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear eybi,
While it is possible to be even more vague about the “Geographic location of the bug,” we rarely encounter that situation.  We agree your Oleander Hawkmoth is beautiful.  Because it has been introduced to Hawaii, the Oleander Hawkmoth is included in Sphingidae of the Americas where it states:  ” The Oleander Hawk Moth,
Deilephila nerii or Daphnis nerii, (Wing span: 90–110mm) is primarily associated with “the southern Mediterranean region, North Africa and the Middle East to Afghanistan (Ebert, 1969).”  Since the caterpillar feeds on the leaves of oleander, and since oleander is widely cultivated in gardens where the climate is appropriate, the range of the Oleander Hawkmoth has increased.  We get numerous submissions from India as well.

 

Letter 66 – Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar from South Africa

 

Subject:  What caterpillar
Geographic location of the bug:  #dargle, kzn
Date: 01/30/2018
Time: 05:56 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  This caterpillar is in my garden. Can you tell me what caterpillar it is please?
How you want your letter signed:  Many thanks Tania

Thank you but I managed to find it eventually on the net.  It’s an oleander hawk moth.

Pre-Pupal Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Tania,
Thanks for informing us that you identified your Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar.  The yellow coloration and its location on the ground indicate it is pre-pupal, and about to undergo metamorphosis.

Letter 67 – Oleander Hawkmoth

 

Subject:  What type of bug?
Geographic location of the bug:  Israel
Date: 02/05/2019
Time: 02:12 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found a bug and am curious what species it is.
How you want your letter signed:  To you

Oleander Hawkmoth

This beautiful moth is an Oleander Hawkmoth, a species that has expanded its range to many warm areas where oleander, a larval food, is grown as a decorative garden plant.

Letter 68 – Oleander Hawkmoth from Israel

 

Subject:  big bug on fennel plant
Geographic location of the bug:  jerusalem
Date: 07/18/2019
Time: 04:19 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi, This morning I found this large bug? attached to my fennel plant.
It looks like a huge butterfly but has a large underbelly (in the 3rd photo)
How you want your letter signed:  Janet Baumgold-Land

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Janet,
This is an Oleander Hawkmoth, and it is resting on the fennel plant.  The food plant for the caterpillar is oleander, and the adult moths take nectar from a variety of flowers.

Thank you so much.
Janet

Letter 69 – Oleander Hawkmoth from India

 

Subject:  Whats this insect
Geographic location of the bug:  Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
Date: 01/25/2020
Time: 05:08 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Can you tell us what this is? It looks like a fighter jet!
How you want your letter signed:  Shree

Oleander Hawkmoth

Dear Shree,
This beautiful, aerodynamic creature is an Oleander Hawkmoth.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

70 thoughts on “Oleander Hawk Moth Facts: Unveiling the Mysteries of this Fascinating Creature”

  1. In that photo I was relocating the little guy from my landlords “fancy plant” to something less… uh… desirable with a plumeria leaf. It seemed to like the plumeria just fine and when I checked on it in the morning the only sign he was around was a few half eaten leaves from the fallen branch I put it on.
    I was thinking the early bird got the worm until I read here that these guys do their thing in the dirt. I hope to see it in all it’s winged glory soon, if in fact that early bird ate elsewhere.
    Thanks for the ID and a very cool site.
    Aloha,
    Doug

    Reply
  2. Thank you very much for your reply and for posting the moth on your website.

    After I emailed you, I did more research and discovered that it was indeed the Oleander Moth.

    It disappeared in the evening, but is now back in my garden this morning resting on one of the wooden veranda legs 🙂 It seems very happy there, so I shall welcome it into the garden.

    Thank you again,

    Alex

    Reply
  3. I was very pleased to discover your site, two 9cm long caterpillars are devouring my desert rose and I wanted to know what they were.
    The link to other site was very interesting and has great detail.
    http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/dnerii.htm
    I shall leave the two to pupate and hope they survive.
    Trish
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Reply
  4. I was very pleased to discover your site, two 9cm long caterpillars are devouring my desert rose and I wanted to know what they were.
    The link to other site was very interesting and has great detail.
    http://www.silkmoths.bizland.com/dnerii.htm
    I shall leave the two to pupate and hope they survive.
    Trish
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    Reply
  5. I have found one of these such moths in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. I have never seen anything quite like this!

    Reply
  6. I believe my friend caught an OleanderHawk Moth. Its very Big. I read that they are not from here. I would like you to confirm if thats what it is. Thank You

    Reply
  7. I just saw one of the same moth on 3/24/14 on our garage wall. I was fscinated by how beautiful it look. That was first encounter of such a moth.

    Reply
  8. We found a huge Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar destroying one of our small Be Still plant here in Maui Hawaii.
    We want to save our plants and get rid of the pests. We also have other types of inchworm looking caterpillars devouring the crotons. Please advise…Thank you

    Reply
  9. We found a huge Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar destroying one of our small Be Still plant here in Maui Hawaii.
    We want to save our plants and get rid of the pests. We also have other types of inchworm looking caterpillars devouring the crotons. Please advise…Thank you

    Reply
  10. Aloha, I live in Hawaii and we’ve found this moth. We have a ton of oleander, it makes sense that we have this moth. Anyway, was wondering if this moth is poisonous to cats, as our outdoor cats are always bringing them inside and trying to eat them. Also, since oleanders give me hives, are the moths poisonous to us humans? Another thing, we’d like to bring it in to my daughter’s classroom, I’m assuming they eat oleander plants, so we’ll put some into a jar for tomorrow. But do we spritz a little bit of water too? I don’t want it to get moldy. We’re only going to keep it in the jar for maybe 15 hours. And I may be wrong in what it eats after it turns into a moth.

    Mahalo for answers you may have, since I’ve been searching and not finding much about them!
    Mia

    Reply
    • Hi Mia,
      The caterpillar of the Oleander Hawkmoth feeds on the leaves of the oleander plant, but the moth is not that particular about only taking nourishment from oleander. Moths have a tubular proboscis and they drink nectar from a variety of deep throated, nectar producing flowers. If you daughter is taking a live moth to the classroom, we would not worry about it going hungry for 15 hours. We have not read anything about the moths retaining any toxins from the plants. Many insects are able to store toxins from plants they feed upon, and we cannot say if this is the case with the caterpillars of the Oleander Hawkmoth. We will try to do additional research and get back to you, but there might not be any information available from reputable sources on the internet.

      Reply
  11. Aloha, I live in Hawaii and we’ve found this moth. We have a ton of oleander, it makes sense that we have this moth. Anyway, was wondering if this moth is poisonous to cats, as our outdoor cats are always bringing them inside and trying to eat them. Also, since oleanders give me hives, are the moths poisonous to us humans? Another thing, we’d like to bring it in to my daughter’s classroom, I’m assuming they eat oleander plants, so we’ll put some into a jar for tomorrow. But do we spritz a little bit of water too? I don’t want it to get moldy. We’re only going to keep it in the jar for maybe 15 hours. And I may be wrong in what it eats after it turns into a moth.

    Mahalo for answers you may have, since I’ve been searching and not finding much about them!
    Mia

    Reply
  12. Found these caterpillars at Kona Bali Kai Condo on Big Island of Hawaii on April 30, 2014.
    Please call as there are many more on-site. Contact phone (808)329-8176 or (808)895-8099.

    Reply
  13. Found these caterpillars at Kona Bali Kai Condo on Big Island of Hawaii on April 30, 2014.
    Please call as there are many more on-site. Contact phone (808)329-8176 or (808)895-8099.

    Reply
  14. I woke up this morning to find one of my Oleanders with all the leaves chewed off. When inspecting the other bush I found a beautiful green caterpillar almost 3″ long on it with bright blue eyes and a little yellow horn on its rear. It clung to the plant for dear life and I had to pry it off. This looked exactly like the pictures of the Oleander hawk moth caterpillar.

    Reply
  15. Just encountered one of these delightful moths this evening when coming home. Beautiful creature. Just sitting on my lanai under the light. Hope a big toad doesn’t come along and fancy it for a snack.

    Reply
  16. The moth flew into my living room. I allowed it to settle and caught it with my butterfly net. I never saw a moth like it. I took it outside to release him. It was hugh and beautiful. I live in eastern PA When I went back to check on it he was gone.

    Reply
  17. Hi my name is Carrie
    I live in Alton Is
    Yes the Mid West)
    I have one in a jar?
    Rare ?
    Please advise
    As we r having a cold summer
    Is this normal that they r here?
    Thanks
    Carrie

    Reply
  18. Hi my name is Carrie
    I live in Alton Is
    Yes the Mid West)
    I have one in a jar?
    Rare ?
    Please advise
    As we r having a cold summer
    Is this normal that they r here?
    Thanks
    Carrie

    Reply
  19. I have seen such Caterpillars on my oleanders in Novalja, island of Pag, Croatia first time this summer! On the plants they are green, one I found on soil, was brown.

    Reply
  20. Just found a Oleander Hawkmonth caterpillar on my Big Lanai in one of the plants.
    I think the 3 little sacs were not slug babies but babies of the caterpillar. ooooooppps!
    Found 4-23-2015 Hawaii Kai Honolulu

    Reply
  21. Just found a Oleander Hawkmonth caterpillar on my Big Lanai in one of the plants.
    I think the 3 little sacs were not slug babies but babies of the caterpillar. ooooooppps!
    Found 4-23-2015 Hawaii Kai Honolulu

    Reply
  22. We have beautiful Desert Rose plants and have discovered at least 6 of these creatures. They consumed my plants very rapidly.

    Reply
    • I too find these on my dessert rose plants. They are a neat spectacle to look at but definitely pests since they consume quickly. You need to remove them asap . I would admire my succulent one afternoon and wake up the next morning to a bare leaf plant, they even eat the flowers ☹️

      Reply
  23. I found an Oleander Hawkmoth caterpillar about two weeks ago and brought it to my grade 3 classroom. The next day it made it’s cocoon. My students and I have been waiting for it to open but I am worried because it is a very black color and lacks the lighter brown coloring I see on other sites for a healthy cocoon. How can I know if it is dead or not?

    Reply
  24. I found an Oleander Hawk Moth on the patio of my home in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, USA two days ago. I had never seen anything like it and, upon further research, learned that this species is seldom seen in North America. I wish there was a way to attach the pictures to this post to share with you all.

    Reply
  25. How does the caterpillar get to move around. I found one in my sons bedroom upstairs while leaving his bedroom sliding door open for some air. I dont have any trees near the window – so no idea how it got in the poor thing. Also I find they move from one plant to another very quickly – yet they move slowly?

    Reply
  26. This is an interesting information… This species is really well represented in the current year, as far north as the northern Adriatic coast (an exceptionally good year). But the younger caterpillars should not leave the oleander shrubs at all… – except, maybe, they have completely eaten them. But I hope this is not the case, and find this very improbable… Is the Oleander hawkmoth photo from there? – They can reach about 13 cm or more, but always stay well hidden on the twigs. — It could be eventually another (more rare and local) species of hawkmoth caterpillars with eyespots – like Theretra alecto or Hippotion celerio, which are much more mobile indeed… – as eating on vine species and other smaller plants, and forced to leave and change the hosts quite frequently… They can be green or brown. Are there several pairs of eyespots on their necks? – Many Thanks and curious wishes from Berlin

    Reply
  27. We have them here in the Kalamula Homestead. Our Cactus Rose is their choice of food. They also come in a brown and pink color. Not sure what do.

    Reply
  28. I found one of these today on my break at work. He was on the side of my building. I took pictures and everything. Such a beautiful creature. Never seen one before here in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland except for today.

    Reply
  29. I live in Isan Province in NE Thailand and theses delightful creatures are happily chomping away on my plants too.
    I’ve plucked them and put them onto some unused gardens close by, there’s no need to destroy them.

    Reply
  30. I live in Isan Province in NE Thailand and theses delightful creatures are happily chomping away on my plants too.
    I’ve plucked them and put them onto some unused gardens close by, there’s no need to destroy them.

    Reply
  31. Hi Kim,

    We found one of these caterpillars crawling INSIDE our house in Corfu when we came back from shopping today. It was smaller than the ones you have seen (about 10 cm) but still bigger than a catterpillar I want to meet indoors. I’m pleased we know what it is and hope future specimens stay outside!

    Reply
  32. Hi Kim,

    We found one of these caterpillars crawling INSIDE our house in Corfu when we came back from shopping today. It was smaller than the ones you have seen (about 10 cm) but still bigger than a catterpillar I want to meet indoors. I’m pleased we know what it is and hope future specimens stay outside!

    Reply
  33. Just found one on our single Oleander, here in Tremisthousa, Paphos. About 9cm long with very bright “eyes”. Happy to post photo if allowed.

    Reply
  34. Wow! – Which makes evident they develop through the winter in the region. On northern Adriatic coast (Piran) I had the same suspect, finding them very late from time to time; but we have some frosts during a usual winter. This species has no dormant stage and develops continually.

    Nice wishes,
    Bostjan

    Reply
    • Update: due to said caterpillar ignoring the abundant leaves and eating the few flowers and buds on our one and only standard oleander, plus the daily chore of sweeping up the caterpillar poo – amazing how much one daphnis nerii can produce – I have been forced to relocate him/her(?) to a secret wilderness location where there are hundreds of flowering oleanders. It took one look, went “Yippee” in caterpillar speak and crawled at an amazing pace into the abundant green foliage in search of the fastest route to the pink tips. To judge by the missing tips of a number of green leaves, I think it(?) will soon be joining up with many friends in time for settling down, fully feasted, for the winter ahead. I shall be visiting from time to time to check on its progress and well being.

      Reply
  35. Wow! – Which makes evident they develop through the winter in the region. On northern Adriatic coast (Piran) I had the same suspect, finding them very late from time to time; but we have some frosts during a usual winter. This species has no dormant stage and develops continually.

    Nice wishes,
    Bostjan

    Reply
  36. I found one on our truck in New Iberia, Louisiana, US. I’ve never seen one before, but from the other post from Breaux Bridge, LA, it seems these moths are now in the south US, also.

    Reply
  37. What is the purpose of this kind of moth? Is it not a pest to find one within a house? I found a brown reddish stain on our curtain where it landed. Will it be easy to clean up? Thank you.

    Reply
  38. Just encountered one of these gorgeous creatures on my front sidewalk. I’ve lived in The islands over 30 years and never seen one before. Our yard is surrounded by Oleander bushes. I’m sure he’s been feasting.

    Reply

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