Hawk Moth Introduction Superfamily - SPHINGOIDEA, Family - SPHINGIDAE, Two subfamilies - SPHINGINAE and MACROGLOSSINAE
These large moths are a special interest of ours. As at 2017 there are 65 publicly known Hawk Moths in Australia. To date we have sighted twenty five Hawk Moth species on our Dorrigo Plateau property. Most were attracted at night using an insect collecting light (but without the zapper so as not to kill specimens), others were sighted at dusk feeding on flowers and a couple of day flying Bee Hawks were sighted during the day feeding on flowers. We have also found several Hawk Moth larva feeding on our property. We see a similarity in design between the swept back wings of these powerful moths and the design of modern day swept back winged jet fighter aircraft.
Note: A very detailed book about the life history of Australian Hawk Moths has recently been written by Max Moulds, Jim Tuttle and David Lane. It is hoped publication by CSIRO Publishing will take place early in 2020.
As you will see from our photos most Hawk Moth larva have a dorsal horn on their body. To the uninitiated the sight of this horn often raises fear that the larva could cause them harm. Such a worry is unnecessary for the larva are completely harmless and the presence of a dorsal horn is thought to be a way of making the larva look more fearsome in order to frighten off birds and other predators.
We hope that by adding to the available information on these harmless beautiful insects more people will desire to help conserve larva found in their gardens and on outings and perhaps encourage them by growing their food plants when able to do so. This will in turn help in the preservation of the species and better ensure that the food chain remains strong thus assisting other fauna to survive also.
For everyone with a love of nature there is great joy awaiting you if you are able to breed Hawk Moth larva through to the adult moth stage. We are always available to advise anyone interested to try this.
We have chosen to include in our website all the Hawk Moths we have seen in Australia in addition to the many we have seen here on our Claire Cottage property. This is the only Lepidoptera family where we have included specimens not first sighted on our Dorrigo Plateau property.
To date (November 2019) 25 of the 45 Hawk Moths we feature here have been found on our property (see current list below), most as adults, but we are keen to try to find larva as well and in that regard would appreciate feedback on any food plants you are aware of that we are not showing here.
Our ultimate goal remains to record each stage of the life cycles of as many Australian Hawk Moths as we can. We understand at this time (2016) there are 65 known Australian Hawk Moths. We are a very long way from achieving our goal but enjoy the excitement of trying to photograph as many as we can together with as much of their life cycles as we are able.
We give special thanks to Jim Tuttle, Max Moulds and David Lane for their much needed help in identifying many of our hawk moth and larva photographs. Their vastly superior scientific knowledge far exceeds ours as citizen science enthusiasts. They have been working for a number of years on preparing their new book on Australian Hawk Moths which they hope to see published during 2019, a treasure we anxiously await. We also thank those who have provided us with photos to supplement our own. These photographers we credit on the website below each of their photograph's.
Please note non-native food plants are indicated with an * .... and we have structured the Hawk Moth page in alphabetical order of the Australian Hawk Moth's scientific name (known Common Names are shown in brackets). From the Hawk Moth Gallery page click on the moth you are interested in and you will go to the detailed page covering that species. There is a page for each species listed below plus 20 other Australian Hawk Moth species.
We acknowledge the Authors of the following books and publications from which we have acquired some of our lepidoptera and botanical knowledge over time:
* Moths of Australia - I.F.B. Common 1990 * A Guide to Australian Moths - Paul Zborowski and Ted Edwards 2007 * Larval Food Plants of Hawk Moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) Affecting Commercial Crops in Australia - M. S. (Max) Moulds 1981 * Larval Food Plants of Hawk Moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) Affecting Garden Ornamentals in Australia - M. S. (Max) Moulds 1984 * New Larval Food Plants For Australian Hawk Moths (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae) - M. S. (Max) Moulds 1998 * Rainforest Trees of Mainland South-eastern Australia - A.G. Floyd 2008 * The websites: http://lepidoptera.butterflyhouse.com.au/sphi/sphingidae.html http://www.leapfrogoz.com.au/moths-of-tropical-queensland-australia/index.html