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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

27 June, 2010

Poplar Hawkmoth (Laothoe populi)

The Poplar Hawkmoth is very different to other moths. This shape and wing formation is unique and the Poplar Hawkmoth cannot really be mistaken for anything else. It is widespread across the British isles and is quite common.

It is also a big moth and if you see it fluttering around a light you could easily think at first that it was a bat. It must rank as one of Britain's largest insects I would have thought.

It does vary in colour between this almost blue to a much lighter shade of brown. There is also a buff version found, notably, in the London area. These browner versions tend to be the females.

This is a moth readily attracted to light and is single brooded flying from May until July. In good years there can be a second brood in September. The food plant for the larvae is on Poplar, Aspen, Sallow and Willow and it is the latter two that are quite common and would most usually be the host plant in Dorset. The insect overwinters as a pupa.