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Oleander Hawkmoth caterpillar

on 27th January 2016

In mid-December 2015 Teo Lee Wei and K presented me with a fat Oleander Hawkmoth (Daphnis nerii) caterpillar that was chomping on their Periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) plants in their garden (above). Under my care it continued feeding on the leaves as well as flowers (below).

The yellow-green caterpillar was at its last stage instar and soon turned dark grey (below).

It stopped feeding and moved to the soil to pupate. Initially it tunneled into the soil but moved to the surface to form its cocoon of discarded leaves (below).

The pupa was initially whitish but turned dark rapidly (below).

Eclosure occurred 22 days later in the early hours of the morning. By the time it came to my attention, it was ready to fly off – see video below of the hawkmoth fluttering.

Eclosed Oleander Hawkmoth fluttering…

It flew off but remained nearby. It was placed in a cage (below: dorsal and ventral view).

YC Wee, Teo Lee Wei & K
Singapore
January 2016

If you like this post please tap on the Like button at the left bottom of page. Any views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors/contributors, and are not endorsed by the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM, NUS) or its affiliated institutions. Readers are encouraged to use their discretion before making any decisions or judgements based on the information presented.

YC Wee

Dr Wee played a significant role as a green advocate in Singapore through his extensive involvement in various organizations and committees: as Secretary and Chairman for the Malayan Nature Society (Singapore Branch), and with the Nature Society (Singapore) as founding President (1978-1995). He has also served in the Nature Reserve Board (1987-1989), Nature Reserves Committee (1990-1996), National Council on the Environment/Singapore Environment Council (1992-1996), Work-Group on Nature Conservation (1992) and Inter-Varsity Council on the Environment (1995-1997). He is Patron of the Singapore Gardening Society and was appointed Honorary Museum Associate of the Lee Kong Chian Natural History Museum (LKCNHM) in 2012. In 2005, Dr Wee started the Bird Ecology Study Group. With more than 6,000 entries, the website has become a valuable resource consulted by students, birdwatchers and researchers locally and internationally. The views and opinions expressed in this article are his own, and do not represent those of LKCNHM, the National University of Singapore or its affiliated institutions.

Other posts by YC Wee

13 Responses

  1. Hey, guys i had a concern, my Oleander Hawk moth does not move all day, and sits in one place either on its stick, or on my shirt. It does not move and does not drink out of its cap itself so i use a pin to make its probos. land inside the cup and it drinks that way. I just want to know if this is normal and what is happening…

  2. This does not appear to be a nromal behavior. Please keep on observing (without interference) and see what happens next. Interesting.

  3. We found some exactly the same caterpillars in our garden that are already in black & brown stage (I guess ready to turn into a pupa). We have put then in a bowl with some leaves. Should we put some soil too. I too would like to study the different stages and the final product.

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