Lepidoptera The Poplar Hawk Moth – Smerinthus Populi

The Poplar Hawk Moth Fig. 101.-The Poplar Hawk.

This moth is very common and very widely distributed, and may be easily found in any of its stages. The perfect insect flies during May, June, and July; and being rather heavy on the wing, it is easily taken with a net as it hovers round the branches of its favourite trees or among the flowers of gardens at dusk. The larva may be beaten from the boughs of poplars and sallows during August and September, and during the latter month may often be seen creeping down and around the trunks of these trees, searching for a suitable spot in which to undergo its changes. The pupa may be dug out of the soil at the foot of the same trees during the autumn, winter, and spring months.

The fore wings are ashy grey or greyish brown, marbled with darker tints, with a conspicuous white spot near the centre. The hind wings are similarly coloured except at the base, where there is a large patch of brick-red.

The caterpillar is rough, of a pale green colour dotted with yellow, with seven oblique yellow stripes on each side. The spiracles are white, edged with red; and the horn is yellow on the upper, and reddish on the under side. Its chief food plants are the poplar, the Lombardy poplar (Populus pyramidalis), aspen (P. tremula), and sallow (Salix Caprea and S. cinerea).