Sirhowy Hill Woodlands

Scientific name: Deilephila elpenor

Elephant Hawk Moth

May to early August. This pink and olive-green moth is named after the caterpillar’s resemblance to an elephant’s trunk.


The adults are nocturnal, flying from dusk and coming to light, resting by day amongst its foodplants. They feed from honeysuckle (Lonicera) and other tubular flowers on the wing.


The larvae are usually seen when looking for somewhere to pupate, or when resting on stems in good weather, as they are very large, with noticeable eye markings. They overwinter as pupae in fragile cocoons at the base of plants in loose plant debris/litter, or just below the surface of the ground.

What does the Elephant Hawk Moth eat?

The Elephant Hawk Moth eats rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium), other willowherbs, bedstraws (Galium), Enchanter’s Nightshade, fuchsias and Himalyan Balsalm.

What habitat does the Elephant Hawk Moth live in?

The Elephant Hawk Moth lives in a variety of habitats, often where Rosebay Willowherb is present, such as rough grassland, waste ground and clearings, hedgerows, heathland, sand dunes, woodland (rides and clearings) and gardens.

What family does the Elephant Hawk Moth belong to?

The Elephant Hawk Moth belongs to the Sphingidae family.

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Scientific Name

Deilephila elpenor


England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland


Medium sized

Wingspan Range: 45-60mm 


Very widely and well distributed throughout England and Wales.

Other Wildlife