Oleander Hawkmoth caterpillar

posted in: Butterflies and Moths, Videography | 14

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
January 2016

14 Responses

  1. Khevan

    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. YC Wee

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

  3. Neil

    My pet Oleander Hawkmoth Caterpillar didn’t turn into a brown one but it’s already becoming a pupa. Is it normal?

  4. Sonali

    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.

  5. TR

    Every caterpillar on my vinca plant eventually falls off the plant while still green and dies. What is going on?

  6. BESG

    Can it be attacked by insects/fungi/etc? You need to make detailed observations to find out what happened.

  7. Adrian Chan

    Theretra oldenlandiae is another interesting hawk moth species worth breeding. The caterpillars are large, black in color with white, yellow and red spots on its body. They might look quite threatening but are actually harmless.
    They feed on a wide variety of plants, among them the balsam.

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