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UK’s largest moth found on Dartmoor

The UK’s largest moth has been found fluttering around Dartmoor, a beautiful privet hawk moth was found by wildlife author Charlie Elder who lives near Tavistock. Sharing his find on Twitter, Charlie – who is head of production for Western Morning News & The Herald – said: “Wow, what a whopper of a moth – the privet hawk-moth, the UK’s largest resident moth, and a real beauty as well.”

The moths have a distinctive pink and black striped abdomen and hindwing – although they are not always visible and they shade of pink varies. They have a huge wingspan of 9cm and 12cm. But as impressive as the moth is, the wildlife trust have said the caterpillar is even more eye catching, they are lime green, with green, with purple streaks and a black hook at the end.

The charity’s website says: “With a torpedo-shaped body and long, narrow wings, the privet hawk-moth is a striking garden visitor. But the caterpillars really stand out: lime-green, with purple streaks and a black hook at the tail end.

“The privet hawk-moth is a very large hawk-moth that is on the wing for a short period 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.”


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