Deilephila porcellus

Small Elephant Hawk-moth

Deilephila porcellus
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Deilephila porcellus
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Deilephila porcellus, the small elephant 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.

Small Elephant Hawk-moth

Deilephila porcellus
Local Pest Control


garden pest
crop pest

Scientific classification

People often ask

What does a small elephant hawk-moth eat?


It is found in Europe, North Africa and western Asia.


The wingspan is 45 - 51 mm. The moth flies from May to July depending on the location. The forewings are ochreous with a faint olive tinge; the front margin is edged and blotched with pinkish, and there is a broad but irregular band of the same colour on the outer margin. The hindwings are blackish on their upper margin, pinkish on their outer margin, and ochreous tinged with olive between. The fringes are chequered whitish, sometimes tinged with pink. The head, thorax, and body are pinkish, more or less variegated with olive; the thorax has a patch of white hairs above the base of the wings. It is highly variable in colouration. In drier and warmer and arid areas of Asia Minor and Central Asia the pink colouration is absent. Form rosea Zerny is intermediate; f. indistincta Tutt is pinkish grey; f. suellus is yellowish sandy buff.

Similar species

D. porcellus is often confused with Deilephila elpenor, the elephant hawk moth. D. porcellus is the smaller of the two species, and other characteristics in size and coloring can be used to distinguish between the two. For example, D. porcellus has more yellow around its body and lacks the thick pink stripe that goes down D. elpenor abdomen.


It is found in Europe coastal areas, heaths and meadowland edges where Galium is present. Up to 1600 m in the Alps and Spain but in North Africa, Turkey up to 2000 m. In central Iran and central Asia open, arid montane forest, or scrub. Usually found at 2000 to 2500 m.