Privet Hawk Moth Click to enlarge image
Side view of the Privet Hawk moth Photographer:Eric Foster Rights:© Eric Foster Location:Portland, near Bathurst, NSW Date taken:15 February 2011 The Privet Hawk Moth is a large, dull grey moth whose green caterpillars feed on Privet. The wingspan can reach 12cm. Image: Eric Foster
© Eric Foster

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    menephron
    Genus
    Psilogramma
    Subfamily
    Sphinginae
    Family
    Sphingidae
    Super Family
    Sphingoidea
    Order
    Lepidoptera
    Class
    Insecta
    Subphylum
    Uniramia
    Phylum
    Arthopoda
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    12 cm wingspan

The Privet Hawk Moth is a large, dull grey moth whose green caterpillars feed on Privet.

Identification

The caterpillars of the Privet Hawk Moth are green with diagonal white stripes and have a horn present on the end of their tail. This horn looks dangerous, but is quite harmless.


Psilogramma menephron ssp
Privet Hawk Moth caterpillar, Psilogramma menephron Image: Matthew Bulbert
© Australian Museum

Habitat

The Privet Hawk Moth lives in urban areas, forests and woodlands.

Distribution

The Privet Hawk Moth is found in eastern and northern Australia.



Feeding and diet

The caterpillars of the Privet Hawk Moth are commonly seen in Sydney feeding on privet. They also eat jasmine and a number of other plants.

Other behaviours and adaptations

When disturbed, male Privet Hawk Moths may make a hissing sound by rubbing together a specialised set of scales and spines at the end of the abdomen.