Impatiens Hawk Moth
(one synonym : Deilephila argentata Stephens, 1828)
MACROGLOSSINAE, SPHINGIDAE, BOMBYCOIDEA
(Photo: courtesy of Jan MacDonald, Mackay, Queensland)
These Caterpillars can sometimes be a pest on :
in Sydney gardens. The caterpillars are black with yellow spots, and a thin spine on its tail. As they walk, this spine does a cute wiggle. The head and thorax are rather narrower than the abdomen. Late instars develop yellow bands between segments.
The caterpillars have also been found feeding on a wide variety of other plants, including :
(Photo: courtesy of Genevieve Schebeck)
(Photo: courtesy of David Lewis)
However, in captivity, the caterpillars quite happily consume and thrive on:
They grow to a length of about 7 cms.
The caterpillars pupate in a sparse dark cocoon in the leaf litter on the soil near the food plant. The pupa has a length of about 4 cms.
The adult moth is brown, with a light stripe edged with dark brown extending from the hind margin to the tip of each forewing. It also has a pair of white stripes running along its back from its nose to its tail.
The species is found as various subspecies across most of south-east Asia, from India to Australia, including :
In Australia, specimens have been taken in :
Further reading :
Ian F.B. Common,
Moths of Australia,
Melbourne University Press, 1990, pls. 16.9, 29.10, 29.11, p. 415.
Johan Christian Fabricius,
Historiae Natvralis Favtoribvs,
1775, p. 542, No. 21.
Tropical Queensland Wildlife from Dusk to Dawn Science and Art,
LeapFrogOz, Kuranda, 2015, p. 204.
(written 16 August 1996, last updated 29 March 2018)