17 August 2020

Whilst clearing a few plants next to a path this wonderful looking caterpillar crept out:

A quick check on the iNaturalist app identified it as an Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar, so called because it looks like an elephants trunk! They are usually found between July and September, the two enormous, black eyespots towards the head make them look more disturbing than they are and when disturbed they swell up to show these spots and scare off predators. The caterpillars feed on willowherbs, fuchsia and bedstraw and they overwinter as chrysalides, hidden among low vegetation or in the soil.

The adult moth is stunning and they feed on nectar, they can be seen from May to early August and are active at dusk. It is commonly found in parks and gardens, as well as woodland edges, rough grassland and sand dunes.