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Oleander Hawk Moth (Daphnis nerii)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Oleander Hawk Moth.

 Updated: 5/16/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org




The Oleander Hawk Moth is a large green moth that thrives in warm climates and hides among dense lush green foliage.



Native to Asia, Africa and parts of Europe, the Oleander Hawk Moth arrived in Hawaii in the 1970's. This member of the Sphinx Moth family is large like its cousins. An adult's wingspan can stretch to almost 10cm (4 inches). The wings are a myriad of green ranging from light green to olive to dark forest green, similar to the green camouflage seen in army uniforms. For this reason, the Oleander Hawk Moth is also called an Army Green Moth. Legs are tan. A tan eyespot sits on each side where the wing attaches to the body. The forewings have a hint of pink on the inner edges of each wing. Bands and lines of white, brown, and tan create a unique pattern all over the wings. The abdomen (body) is green with a black and tan belt across the middle.

Caterpillars are plump and green. Two light blue eyespots surrounded in black can be seen just behind the head along the dorsal (back) side. A white line runs along the length of the body on either side. An orange-yellow horn at the rear resembles a thorn or stinger. The whole caterpillar becomes dark brown just before it pupates. Look for brown pupal cases with black side dots in leaf litter on the ground.

Oleander Hawk Moth larvae eat the foliage of oleander, possessing immunity from the chemicals in this poisonous plant. They also feed on vincas, grapevines, gardenias, and members of the dogbane family like crape jasmine. Adults drink nectar from scented flowers like honeysuckle, petunia, and jasmine. They are most active in low-light hours, especially dusk.




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Sphingidae
          Genus: Daphnis
            Species: nerii
Identifying Information
Scientific Name: Daphnis nerii
Other Name(s): Army Green Moth
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 80mm to 100mm (3.12in to 3.90in)
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: green, tan, brown, white, pink
Descriptors: flash, flying, huge, large, lines, eyespot
Territorial Map
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
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Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.




Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
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Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
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Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.