Lepidoptera The Small Elephant Hawk Moth – Charocampa Porcellus
This pretty insect is one of the smallest of our hawk moths. It is widely distributed, being met with in many parts of England and in the south of Scotland. It flies in June.
The fore wings are of a dull yellow colour, with rosy-red hind margins, and a broad border of the same tint on the costal margin. The hind wings have also a rosy-red hind margin, and are smoky black along the costa, and yellow in the anal angle. The body is coloured with bright rose-red, tinged with olive on the foremost and hindmost segments.
The popular name of this and the following species has been applied because of the power which the caterpillar has of extending and retracting its front segments, a peculiarity which has given the idea of a semblance to the elephant’s proboscis. The colour of the caterpillar is light-brown or green, mottled with dark-brown, dark-green, or black. It has a conspicuous eye-like spot on each side of the fifth and sixth segments, and has no horn.
This larva may be found in July and August, feeding on species of bedstraw (Galium verum, G. Mollugo, and G. palustre), willow herb (Epilobium hirsutum), or the purple loosestrife (Lythrum Salicaria).