Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Elephant hawkmoth success

Last year (mid -August) we rescued some elephant hawkmoth caterpillars from the field opposite the house, just before the vegetation all got ploughed back into the soil. We kept them over winter in soil in our porch, which is nice and cool and two successfully hatched. Unfortunately the other ten were parasitised - but at least they had a chance!

Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) caterpillars feeding on broad-leafed willow herb 
around mid-August in a large fallow field.

The numerous pupae of the hawkmoths and a comparison  to the large ichneumon that had parasitized the caterpillars earlier on in their lives. The ichneumons broke out of the pupae early June at the same time that any unparasitised moths also hatched. The species is likely Amblyjoppa proteus or similar which specifically targets the elephant hawkmoth as it’s host.

A successful unparasitised hawkmoth just after it hatched from the pupae.

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