The Privet Hawk-moth is a very large hawk-moth that is on the wing for a short period only, in June and July. It is commonly found in parks and gardens, as well as woodland. The adults are attractive, but it is the large caterpillars that really catch the eye: lime green with a purple blush, purple and white streaks on the side, a pale yellow spot on each segment, and a big, blackish hook at the tail end. The caterpillars feed mainly on Privet, but also on Ash and Lilac leaves. As they mature, they turn pinkish and burrow deep into soil in order to pupate, hatching out the following summer.
How to identify
The hawk-moths are recognisable by their large, torpedo-shaped bodies and long, narrow wings, held back like a jet plane. The Privet Hawk-moth is one of the largest, with dark brown and cream wings, and a pink- and black-banded body.
Where to find it
Widespread, although less common in the north.