The Oleander Hawk Moth is a large, sleek 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 collage of green colors ranging from light green to olive to dark forest green. This patchwork of green resembles camouflage fatigues issued in the military. For this reason, the Oleander Hawk Moth is also called an Army Green Moth. Its legs are tan. A tan eyespot sits on each wing where it attaches to the body. The forewings have a hint of pink on the inner edges. Bands and lines of white, brown, and tan criss-cross 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 on 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, which means it may be even more difficult to see it in its natural element.
Scientific Name: Daphnis nerii
Other Name(s): Army Green Moth
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 80mm to 100mm (3.12in to 3.90in)
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
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.