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Laothoe populi, Also known as the Poplar Hawk-moth, is a moth of the family Sphingidae. The species was first described by Carl Linnaeus

in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae. It is found throughout the Palearctic region and the Near East and is one of the most common members of the family in the region. It is distinctive due to its habit of resting with its hindwings held further forward than (but still half hidden by) the forewings.


A camouflaged female

Laothoe populi is certainly one of the more cunning species of hawkmoths with a strikingly close appearance to a deaf leaf as they bask under the sunlight over a tree branch, their wings have blotched wings that create a notion of the specimen being a dead leaf. They have slightly pale venations on their wings that are almost completely parallel to one another. Their coloration is typically a mix between different shades of dull brown. The wings of female specimen seem to have tiny white spots on their wings with a larger scarlet blotch on the hindwing. These moths have large bodies with curved, hairless antennae that are mostly white and extremely thin and minute in terms of size and only has a singular segment. Their wings have a curved, downward facing set of forewings. The males have a light yellow tinted wings with shades of dull brown and the red blotches are also present in males, the males have a vibrant yellow shade closely similar to mornem flavescens. The eggs are silver-grey and look like pearls, the larva is green in color, with vibrant shades of pastel and bright green and soon it's coloration wanes away as it molts.

Other Hawk-moth Species[]

Life cycle[]

A baby poplar hawk-moth larva.

Adults are on the wing and looking for mates between May and August. Females release pheromones which attract passing males and lay their eggs beneath leaves. Caterpillars hatch and feed between June and early October. They eventually descend to the ground to pupate and overwinter beneath the surface.