Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Deilephila Elpenor

Seen as I didn't receive any complaints about the Latin titled blog posts I'm going to continue with a post about Deilephila elpenor; more commonly known as the Elephant Hawk Moth.

As you can see from the photo today's post is actually about the caterpillar rather than the adult moth. If you want to see what the adult looks like then you can see a dead specimen in one of my previous blog posts.

Last Saturday was the 140th Penistone Agricultural Show and while taking the scenic route from our house to the show ground, along the old railway line, we passed a large group of willowherb plants which were covered in Elephant Hawk Moth caterpillars; so of course I stopped to take lots of photos.

Unlike many moths the Elephant Hawk Moth gets it's name from the caterpillar instead of the adult moth. This photo doesn't show the elephants trunk particularly well but you can see that the caterpillar has a pointy nose (bottom of the photo) which supposedly resembles an elephants trunk. When threatened the caterpillar retracts the trunk like portion into it's body which apparently makes it look like a snake with a large head and four eyes; the one at the back is in this pose.
12 September 2012 at 11:13 , Scriptor Senex said...

Super photo. I once found one but I've never seen them en masse even though that is how they are supposed to be usually found.

14 September 2012 at 14:55 , Mark said...

Strangely I've now been passed the same place three or four times since and haven't seen a single one. I'm guessing the nice sunny day helped bring them further up the plants making them more obvious.

2 October 2012 at 16:00 , GB said...

I've never seen the caterpillar only the moth. What a great find.

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