This page contains information about Hawk Moths and Caterpillars in family Sphingidae
that we found in
the Brisbane area, Queensland, Australia.
- Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- Hawk Moth Sphingidae is the only family in superfamily Sphingoidea. Some
references put this family in superfamily Bombycoidea.
- Mature Hawk Moth Caterpillars are usually stout structured, with cylindrical hairless
smooth body and small head. They usually have a single prominent tapering horn on
last segment. They have strong prolegs on 3, 4, 5, and 6 segments. Their
anal prolegs are strong as well. The Caterpillars are often brightly coloured, with
diagonal stripes and eyespots. They feed on variable kinds of plants openly
during the day. Some of them feed on Vitaceae (Woody or herbaceous climbers include grapevine). They pupate in the soil or within plants litter
near their the food-plants.
- Hawk Moth adults are large to very large size moths. They have the strong,
aerodynamic-shaped body. They have simple short antennae and very large eyes. Their forewings
are narrow and long while the hind wings are small. They are very good flyer. They fly
fast and long distance. They can hover even fly backward. They hover to sip nectar from flowers using their long
proboscis. When rest, they hold
their wings on body like a tent.
- Hawk Moth adults have relatively long life. Females lay spherical egg
singly on underside of leaves of host plants.
- In this family males and females are looked almost identical.
- When feeding, most Hawk Moth can do the hovering and stay still in air. They
are usually active
just before sunset.
- Convolvulus Hawk Moth
- Agrius convolvuli, body length 70mm
- The moth is grayish-brown in colour. We found this large moth (first picture) resting on a wooden stand in Brisbane City on a
summer day 2002. Second pictures was taken on Sep 2007 in
Sunshine Coast, north of Brisbane. Please check this page
for more information.
- Privet Hawk Moth
- Psilogramma casuarinae (often mistaken as Psilogramma menephron), caterpillar length 80mm
- The Privet Hawk Moth Caterpillar is green in colour with a straight horn on its tail
pointing backwards. There are a series of diagonal white stripes on both sides
of its strong body. Please check this page
for more information.
- Double-headed Hawk Moth
- Coequosa triangularis, caterpillar length 60mm
- The Hawk Moth caterpillar is colourful and it does not have the dorsal
horn. At the anal claspers it has a pair of raised shining black eye-like
spot, which give rise to the common name of Double-headed Hawk Moth. Please
check this page for more information.
- Bee Hawk Moth
- Cephonodes kingii, body length 40mm
- In a hot summer day late afternoon this Bee Hawk Moth was found feeding on flowers outside our office. It abdomen is yellow and black
colours looked like a bee. On its
back is grayish-green in colour. Its wings are transparent. It was hovering
flowers and flying like a small bird. Check this page
for more information about this moth.
- Pale Brown Hawk Moth
- Theretra latreillii, moth body length 50mm, caterpillar body length
- The Pale Brown Hawk Moth Caterpillars have two colour forms, brown and
green. They have the curved horn on its tail
and the eyespots on the first abdominal segment. The adult moth is pale brown in
colour with two brown lines of small dots on each forewings. More information and
pictures about this moth can be found on this page.
- Unknown Hawk Moth Caterpillar
- ? Theretra sp., Length 50mm
- Pictures were taken on Feb 2010 at the edge of the Lagoon in Karawatha
Forest. The caterpillar was resting on the reeds.
- 1. Moths of Australia
- I. F. B. Common, Melbourne University Press, 1990, p408.
- 2. Moths
of Australia - Bernard D'Abrera, Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, 1974,
- 3. Northern
Territory Insects, A Comprehensive Guide CD - Graham Brown, 2009.
- 4. SPHINGIDAE of Australia - Australian Caterpillars by Don Herbison-Evans & Stella Crossley, 2010.
- 5. Moths of Victoria Part 1 - Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA - Peter Marriott, Entomological Society of Victoria,
- 6. A
Guide to Australian Moths - Paul Zborowski, Ted Edwards, CSIRO
PUBLISHING, 2007, p168.
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