Daphnis nerii

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Daphnis nerii
Oleander Hawk-moth Daphnis nerii.jpg
Oleander Hawkmoth (female) In Mangaon, Maharashtra, India
Daphnis nerii BMNHE813072 male up.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Sphingidae
Genus: Daphnis
Species: D. nerii
Binomial name
Daphnis nerii
(Linnaeus, 1758)[1][2]

Sphinx nerii Linnaeus, 1758
Daphnis nerii infernelutea Saalmüller, 1884
Daphnis nerii confluens Closs, 1912
Daphnis nerii nigra Schmidt, 1914
Deilephila nerii bipartita Gehlen, 1934

Daphnis nerii (formerly Deilephila nerii), known as the oleander hawk-moth or army green moth, is a moth of the Sphingidae family.


Distribution map of Daphnis nerii. Blue: Summer distribution. Green: All year distribution.

Daphnis nerii is a large hawk-moth found in wide areas of Africa and Asia. It is a migratory species, flying to parts of eastern and southern Europe during the summer, particularly Turkey.

Feeding habits[edit]

The adults feed on nectar of a great variety of flowers. They have a preference for fragrant species like petunia, jasmine and honeysuckle. They are especially active in the twilight time, hovering over the flowers after sunset.

The caterpillars feed mainly on oleander (Nerium oleander) leaves, a highly toxic plant, to which the caterpillars are immune. They also may feed on most plants of the Dogbane family, such as Adenium obesum, Tabernaemontana divaricata and Alstonia scholaris in India.

Life cycle[edit]

Newly hatched oleander hawk-moth larvae are three to four millimetres in length, bright yellow, and have a black, elongated ‘horn’ on the rear of the body.[3][2] As they get older, the larvae become green to brown with a large blue-and-white eyespot near the head and a yellow ‘horn’ on the rear.[3][2][4] There is also a white band along the side of the body, with a scattering of small white and bluish dots alongside it. The spiracles on the sides of the body are black.[2][4] Older oleander hawk-moth larvae measure around 7.5 to 8.5 centimetres in length.[4]

Just before it pupates, the oleander hawk-moth larva becomes browner in colour. The pupa of this species measures around 5.5 to 7.5 centimetres in length, and is light brown with black spots and a black line down the middle.[2][4]

The pupa is pale reddish or brownish-white and has a wax-like appearance. It lies directly on the earth, under moss or dry leaves.

Related species[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Fauna Europaea". 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Sphingidae of the Western Palaearctic. Daphnis nerii.".  A.R. Pittaway
  3. ^ a b c Moore, A. and Miller, R.H. (2008) Daphnis nerii (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae), a new pest of oleander on Guam, including notes on plant hosts and egg parasitism. Proceedings of the Hawaiian Entomological Society, 40: 67-70.
  4. ^ a b c d e Leong, T.M. and D’Rozario, V. (2009) Final instar larvae and metamorphosis of the oleander hawkmoth, Daphnis nerii (Linnaeus) in Singapore (Lepidoptera: Sphingidae: Macroglossinae). Nature in Singapore, 2: 297-306.
  5. ^ a b Sphingidae of the Eastern Palaearctic - Daphnis hypothus http://tpittaway.tripod.com/china/d_hyp.htm