Small Elephant Hawk Moth Deilephila porcellus

Scientific Name: Deilephila porcellus (Sphingidae).

English Name: Small Elephant Hawk Moth (Hawk moth family).

French Name: Petit sphinx de la vigne (='small vine sphinx'); Petit pourceau (='little hog').

5 Key Characters:
  • medium-large (wingspan 40 - 50 mm).
  • bright yellow ochre and Barbie pink.
Lookalikes: Elephant Hawk Moth Deilephila elpenor, which is larger and not as brightly coloured (more greeny brown and pink).

Habitat: Heaths and dry grassy meadows on chalk.

Flight Period: May-June-July-August-September.

Caterpillar: Grey-brown, no horn at the rear (has a pair of 'warts'). Larval food plants Bedstraws Galium spp, Willow-herbs Epilobium spp, Purple Loosestrife Lythrum salicaria and Grape Vine Vitis vinifera. It is the caterpillars that give the species its names. It looks like an elephant, or a pig, depending on your inclination/linguistic background.

Status: Locally common, widely distributed in the Touraine and Berry.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature: