Updated as per personal communication with Antoine Guyonnet (Constanza Michelle: Yokadouma, Est Province, Cameroon; February 2, 2010); April 28, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Clay Shiroma (Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii, May 2011); May 15, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Nancy Sommers (Kona, Hawaii, December 14, 2011); December 20, 2011
Updated as per personal communication with Kathleen Marchetti (Makawao, Maui, Hawaii, August 7, 2012); August 8, 2012
Updated as per personal communication with Karen Christensen (Kanoehe, Oahu, Hawaii, December 10, 2012); December 10, 2012
Updated as per personal communication with Sherm Warner (Kamuela, Big Island, Hawaii, April 10, 2014); April 11, 2014
Updated as per personal communication with Melita Counta (larvae on Nerium oleander, Nicosia, Cyprus, June 13, 2014); June 14, 2014
Almost all the pictures and information on this page come from Tony Pittaway.
This site has been created by
Bill Oehlke at email@example.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.
Family: Sphingidae, Latreille, 1802
copyright C. Odenkirk
Deipephila nerii Maui, Hawaii, February 2008, courtesy of Sean Demarre.
"Extra-limital range. From Afghanistan eastward to south-east Asia and the Philippines; as a migrant, it penetrates northwards into central Europe and central southern Asia. In Africa it ocurs at least as far south as southern Cameroon.
In 1974, this species was recorded as having established itself in Hawaii (Beardsley, 1979).
Deilephila nerii, Maui, Hawaii, March 2005, courtesy of John Steele, via Sally Knight-Valencia.
Deilephila nerii "rests by day, either on a solid surface or suspended among foliage with which it blends; the head is tucked in, with the thorax and abdomen raised off the underlying substrate.
Most emerge late in the evening but do not take flight until just before dawn, to feed avidly from such flowers as Nicotiana, Petunia, Lonicera, Saponaria and Mirabilis. Thereafter, flight periods are mainly just after dusk and before dawn. Under warm conditions, adults are extremely wary and, if disturbed, will take flight even during daylight hours."
Visit Deilephila nerii, Kona, Hawaii, December 14, 2011, courtesy of Nancy Sommers.
Daphnis nerii, Yokadouma, Est Province, Cameroon,
February 2, 2010, courtesy of Constanza Michelle, via Antoine Guyonnet.
The major host are the flowers and young leaves of Nerium oleander.
Deilephila nerii, Haleiwa, Oahu, Hawaii,
May 2011, courtesy of Clay Shiroma.
Kathleen Marchetti sends the following note and images, August 8, 2012:
"I live on Maui in Makawao and yesterday I woke up to find my bonsia dessert rose tree/plant totally without flowers or leaves. Whoa.. I walked over and this giant caterpillar was on the lower stem. This is the picture I took on my 8" round mirror (just for size consideration)."
Deilaphila nerii fifth instar, brown form, Makawao, Maui, Hawaii,
August 7, 2012, courtesy of Kathleen Marchetti.
Deilaphila nerii pupa, Makawao, Maui, Hawaii,
August 8, 2012, courtesy of Kathleen Marchetti.
Bonsai desert rose tree, before and after, Makawao, Maui, Hawaii,
August 8, 2012, courtesy of Kathleen Marchetti.
Karen Christensen sends the following image from Hawaii, December 10, 2012:
Deilephila nerii, Kanoehe, Oahu, Hawaii,
December 10, 2012, courtesy of Karen Christensen.
Pupa courtesy of Tony Pittaway.
Deilephila nerii pairing, Kamuela, Big Island, Hawaii,
April 10, 2014, courtesy of Sherm Warner.
"Newly-hatched larvae (3--4mm), which consume their eggshells, are bright yellow with an unusually long, very thin, blackish horn.
However, with feeding the yellow quickly assumes a greenish hue and, after the first moult, the primary colour becomes apple-green with a white dorso-lateral line from abdominal segment 1 to the horn, a small, white eye-spot on the third thoracic segment, black spiracles and pink legs.
With growth, the eye-spots become blue with white centres, ringed in black. The horn has an unusual bulbous 'cap' until the penultimate instar.
" Fully-grown larvae (100-130mm, brown or green forms) show little difference from younger ones, except for the change in eye-spots, and the horn losing its bulbous cap and becoming orange with a black tip, finely warted, and downward curved. In some individuals the dorsal surface is rosy, while in most the dorso-lateral line becomes edged in blue.
"In their final instar, some assume a bronze colour with rosy red anterior segments, which tends to mask the pre-pupation plum coloration; in all, however, the newly acquired blue-black dorsal pigmentation, the now black eye-spots and unchanged white spots on either side of the dorso-lateral line remain prominent."
"When young, larvae feed fully exposed on the topmost leaves and flowers; when larger, they tend to conceal themselves further down the branches, or even, when not feeding during daylight hours, on the ground under stones or leaf-litter. Those choosing to remain on the hostplant rest along the lower surface or stem of a leaf, with the first four segments of the body slightly hunched. When first disturbed the caterpillar stretches out to resemble an oleander leaf. With further disturbance, the anterior segments are arched up, suddenly revealing the startling eye-spots; at this point the noxious gut contents may also be regurgitated."
Melita Couta sends this beautiful image of a larva from Nicosia, Cyprus. She writes, "This is an image from what I found in my garden yesterday. It was a huge Surprise. I live in Nicosia, Cyprus. I have about twelve of them eating my rododaphni fence but they are so gorgeous I can not stop them :)"
Deilephila nerii, on Nerium oleander, Nicosia, Cyprus,
June 13, 2014, courtesy of Melita Couta.
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Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.