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The larva is about 75 millimetres (3.0 in) long, green and brown in colour. Like most hawk moth caterpillars, they have a backward curving spine or "horn" on the final abdominal segment. The anterior of the caterpillar appears to have the shape of a trunk-like snout. It is this elephant look, rather than its large size, that gives the moth its name. When startled, the caterpillar draws its trunk into its foremost body segment. This posture resembles a snake with a large head and four large eye-like patches. The imago (adult) feeds at night, and often takes nectar from garden plants like Honeysuckles (Lonicera) and petunias, so it is quite often seen in urban settings in the evening. The moth typically has a wing span of 50–70 mm (2.0–2.8 in). It is spectacularly coloured, seeming to shimmer with green and red when in motion.
Spotted on Oct 21, 2012
Submitted on Oct 22, 2012
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