Convolvulus Hawkmoth

Agrius convolvuli

Convolvulus Hawk Moth, Convolvulus Hawk-Moth, Convolvulus Hawkmoth

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A close up photograph of a Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli against a white background to scale
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The convolvulus hawkmoth belongs to the hawkmoth family, also known as the sphinx moths and hornworms. They're a nocturnal moth with activity levels peaking at night-time, but it's still possible to see the caterpillars and moths during the day. The caterpillars are large and impressive, boasting diagonal stripes with a distinctive spike on their tail-end. The caterpillars feed primarily on plants within the Convolvulus genus, hence their common names. The adults possess unusually large feeding tubes (proboscis), so favour the nectar of large tubular flowers such as tobacco plant, petunia, lilies and phlox. These moths aren't to be confused with the hummingbird hawkmoth who feed during the day when adults.
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Traits

A large and beautiful moth that contributes to the pollination of deep, tubular flowers.

Appearance

Adult moths possess attractive patterning and colouring. The wings are held especially close to the body compared with other hawkmoths. The wing colouration shows typical moth colouration, displaying an irregular mottling of black, grey, brown and white. The body is large and chunky. It displays a grey-brown vertical dorsal stripe as well as numerous alternating pink and black horizontal stripes. The caterpillars can grow big too (as much as 8cm). They can be green or brown and possess a distinctive black, curved spike on the tail-end of the body. Tip: Manduca quinquemaculata, or the pink-spotted hawkmoth, can be distinguished from the convolvulus hawkmoth by the pink body-spots.

Symptoms

The adult moth is a nectar-feeder, so won't cause any damage to garden plants. The caterpillars are quite rare causing little damage to cultivated bindweed plants.

Activity

Nocturnal

Personality

Order

Lepidoptera

Family

Sphingidae

Metamorphosis

Complete

Distribution

These moths are widely distributed across Europe, Africa and Asia.

Biological treatment

These pretty moths won't cause much damage to garden plants, with caterpillars focussing their feeding to bindweeds. The adults are one of the only insects to pollinate plants such as tobacco, due to their unusually large feeding tube (proboscis).

Chemical treatment

It's not advised to treat gardens for this insect.
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Knowledge and advice

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