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Poplar Hawk Moth

Laothoe populi


This is a large (wingspan 70–100 mm), rather odd-looking, species, usually light grey marked with darker grey fascia but with the greys occasionally replaced by buffish tones (this form is more frequent among females than males). Its slightly peculiar appearance is mainly due to its habit of resting with its hindwings held further forward than (but still half hidden by) the forewings (the species lacks a frenulum joining the wings together). It is said to look like a cluster of dead leaves of the main host, poplar. When disturbed, the moth will suddenly reveal a bright orange-red patch on the hindwing, possibly as a distraction or startle display. Gynandromorphs, half female and half male, are common


The Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) is a moth of the family Sphingidae. It is found throughout the Palearctic region and the Near East and is one of the most common members of the family in the region


Life cycle Mating pair showing both color variants of Laothoe populi One or two broods are produced each year and adults can be seen from May to September. The adults do not feed. The species overwinters as a pupa. ]Egg The egg is large, spherical, pale green, and glossy, and is laid singly or in pairs on the underside of leaves of the host plant.Females lay up to 200 eggs. Larva A poplar hawk-moth caterpillar On first hatching the larva is pale green with small yellow tubercules and a cream-coloured tail horn. Later, it develops yellow diagonal stripes on its sides, and pink spiracles. Individuals feeding on willows may become quite heavily spotted with red. Others are more bluish white with cream stripes and tubercules. They are stout bodied, and grow to 65–85 mm. ]Pupa The larva pupates in an earthen cell 2–3 cm below the surface, near its host plant. It has a short cremaster. Adult Although they emerge late at night or early in the morning, the species flies starting from the second night and is strongly attracted to light. The proboscis is non-functional, so they do not feed as adults. Host plants It feeds mainly on poplar and aspen but sometimes on willow, alder, apple, birch, elm, oak and ash. The food plant often depends on location. Subspecies Laothoe populi populi Laothoe populi lappona (Rangnow, 1935) spotted in my house,my wife save her from the cats

1 Species ID Suggestions

Poplar Hawk Moth
Laothoe populi Laothoe populi

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29 Comments (1–25)

Thanks Mona for your nice comment,it pass almost a year from this spotting

Mona Pirih
Mona Pirih 10 years ago

So cute... Beautiful series..

Thanks again Dan,imagine our surprise,to us was almost like seeing a WILD animal :) normaly we have little ones to show,but this moth was hugh,and the way she" pose " for the pic 1 is very diferent than usual :)

Dan Doucette
Dan Doucette 11 years ago


AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

thanks again Emma :)

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 11 years ago

very cute fella!

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

Thanks so much J Gorneau :) caming from a moth specialist like you, those words are a realy honour to me,thanks again my friend

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 11 years ago

This may very well be my most favorite moth series! Amazing António! Congrats on such a wonderful series!

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

Thanks very much Jannette

Jeannette 11 years ago

Wonderful series António :)

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

thanks Arlanda and Satyen for yor nice comments

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

Thanks Jolly and Misako for your kind words :)

Wild Things
Wild Things 11 years ago

Lovely series Antonio. Good work in saving this little fellow :-)

arlanda 11 years ago

Impressive Antonio

misako 11 years ago

wonderful series Antonio! Happy the cat did not get it.

Jolly Ibañez
Jolly Ibañez 11 years ago

Very beautiful series Antonio.

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

Thanks Chun for the id.My wife saw her flying well,making a big noise with the wings,then the cats tried to cache her and my wife take a glass cup and take a few shots and them we realesed her out side in a tree and mike the rest of the photos and we closed the cats and leved her alone

ChunXingWong 11 years ago

Hi António, can this moth fly ?
It's wings still look soft and wet, maybe just emerged from it's pupa ?

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

Thanks so much Luis for your kind words

LuisStevens 11 years ago

Superb series António

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

@Argy my friend :) that would be nasty :) i imagine your face :D
@Thanks ceherzog

ceherzog 11 years ago

excellent Antonio!

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 11 years ago

Great set Antonio. For a moment I thought your wife saved it FOR the cats... putting glasses on now!

AntónioGinjaGinja 11 years ago

Thanks Patty for your nice words

patty 11 years ago

nice series Antonio =)

São José de São Lázaro e São João do Souto, Norte, Portugal

Spotted on Aug 2, 2012
Submitted on Aug 5, 2012

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