Convolvulus Hawk Moth
(one synonym : Protoparce orientalis Butler, 1876)
SPHINGINAE, SPHINGIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Tom and David Sleep, Queensland)
Initially the Caterpillars of this species are green with a straight tail horn. Later instars develop pale diagonal stripes along the sides, and a backward curving horn on the tail.
Later still the caterpillars become dark brown.
They differ from caterpillars of many other SPHINGIDAE species in having no eye-spots on the abdomen, and having vertical stripes on the head.
These caterpillars feed on the foliage of many plants in the family CONVOLVULACEAE. They are a pest in New Guinea and Indonesia on :
and also have been found on:
The caterpillars have also been reported as feeding on :
attacker in close-up
(Photos: courtesy of Diana Davey, Woolgoolga, New South Wales)
These caterpillars have a number of enemies.
The caterpillars grow to a length of about 9 cms. The caterpillar may walk up to 300 metres from the food plant to pupate. It pupates in a cell that it excavates under the soil, at a depth up to 15 cms. The pupa has a length of about 5 cms. It has a long looped compartment for the developing haustellum.
The adult moths of this species are grey with a complex light and dark pattern on the wings.
The undersides are also grey. The moths have a wingspan of about 8 cms.
The abdomen has pink patches on the side of each segment.
When threatened, the moths expose these vivid coloured bars along the abdomen.
The moths can hover in flight, and they have a long haustellum, which is extended to suck nectar when they hover over a flower.
The egg is smooth, white, and slightly oval, usualy laid singly on the upper or lower surface of a leaf of a foodplant.
The species is found from Europe to Asia, including :
and also over most of Australia, including
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, fig. 41.1, pp. 67, 411.
Volume 1, Edition 10 (1760), Class 5, Part 3, p. 490, No. 6.
Peter B. McQuillan, Jan A. Forrest, David Keane, & Roger Grund,
Caterpillars, moths, and their plants of Southern Australia,
Butterfly Conservation South Australia Inc., Adelaide (2019), p. 103.
Max S. Moulds, James P. Tuttle and David A. Lane.
Hawkmoths of Australia,
Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera Series, Volume 13 (2020),
pp. 58-62, Plates 7, 73, 84.
Moths of Victoria - Part 1,
Silk Moths and Allies - BOMBYCOIDEA,
Entomological Society of Victoria, 2008, pp. 28-31.
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2008, p. 37.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 205.
(updated 7 April 2011, 7 May 2018, 27 April 2019, 16 February 2020)