The Moths of Suffolk
1985 Oleander Hawk-moth, Daphnis nerii, (Linnaeus, 1758)

National Status : Immigrant

Local Status : Rare immigrant (SMP Status 4)

Distribution and abundance : As an immigrant species could appear almost anywhere

Flight Period : Usually recorded from May to October

Larval foodplants : Oleander and periwinkles

Records : No recent records

Morley's Final Catalogue : This immigrant from central Europe is, not unnaturally, "Very rare. One at Southtown, Yarmouth, in August 1872, by the Rev. J. W. Colville" (Bloomfield). The late W. H. Tuck told Mr. Morley that during the summer of 1918 specirnes were taken at Bury, Fornham, Yarmouth and Norwich, 'chiefly at tobacco-flowers' (in lit. 14 Oct. 1918); adding on his eightieth birthday that "a young friend had again taken the Oleander upon a bed of tobacco-plants at Hardwicke" (in lit. 3 Oct. 1920). One at Ipswich on 13 Sept. 1936 (Trans. iii, p. 191). Adjacent records are of a female on heliotrope in Aldeby parsonage garden on 26 October 1858 (Ent. Wk. Intell. v, 42); and an example at Hemsby on 8 September 1926 (Tr. Norf. Nat. Soc. xii, 260) quite close to the coast. Footnote: "It has long been my opinion that the appearance of rare insects in this country is owing to their being brought over, guided by instinct and favourable circumstances: indeed, in some instances, there cannot be a doubt of it. Numbers of Oleander Hawk-moth were several years rnigrating from Africa to North France, and at last reached England where the insect had probably never been seen alive before. Moths unknown as inhabitants of these islands have been caught at night at the North Lowestoft lighthouse, to which common species are attracted in such multitudes that the attendant, I have been informed by Captain Chawner and Mr. C. J. Paget [ante 1857], is obliged to brush them off in humid summer nights, on account of their obscuring the revolvingy light." - John Curtis, Farm Insects, ed. 1883, 40.

Bloomfield's Lepidoptera : Very rare. One at South Town, Yarmouth, in August, 1872, by the Rev J. W. Colville.

Wingspan details : Forewing 48-51mm, Wingspan 80-120mm


Confusion species : None

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Caught by Steve Nash - Dorset (ix.2005) © Stuart Read

Life history chart
imago imago imago no datano data

Further Photographs

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Trapped by Roy Eden - West Bexington, Dorset (20.ix.2011) © Neil Sherman