(redirected from Hawk Moths)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.


(invertebrate zoology)
The single family of the lepidopteran superfamily Sphingoidea.



a family of hawk moths. They are of average and large size; the wingspan is 2 to 18 cm. They are characterized by a cigar-shaped body, narrow elongated forewings, and spindle-shaped antennae. The insects can fly with a velocity of up to 54 km/hr and “stand” in the air, sucking nectar from flowers with their long tongue while in flight. (The length of the tongue in the Madagascar hawk moth, Macrosila predicta, exceeds 25 cm.) Sphingidae caterpillars are always naked. They feed on leaves, stripping the shoots bare. There are about 1,200 species, which are found throughout the world. Most are found in the tropics; in the European part of the USSR there are 26 species, and about 40 are found in the Far East. Some members of the family Sphingidae are capable of long flights. (Daphnis nerii flies from the shores of the Black Sea to Finland.) The pupae winter in the soil. Some species are harmful to one or several closely related plants, most frequently woody plants. The pine hawk moth (Sphinx pinastri) and the eyed hawk moth (Smerinthus ocellatus) are among the harmful species in the USSR. The convolvulus hawk moth (Herse convolvuli) is useful in destroying bindweed in the southern Ukraine.


Kuznetsov, N. Ia. “Obzor semeistva Sphingidae palearkticheskoi i otchasti paleanarkticheskoi (kitaisko-gimalaiskoi) fauny.” Tr. Russkogo entomologicheskogo obshchestva, 1906, vol. 37, nos. 3–4.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh. Edited by L. A. Zenkevich, vol. 3. Moscow, 1969.
Seitz, A. Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde, section 1, vol. 2. Stuttgart, 1913.


References in periodicals archive ?
THE Beast of Bob's garden is the fully grown caterpillar of the large elephant hawk moth (Deilephila elpenor).
It is the elephant hawk moth caterpillar, which gained its name from its trunk like appearance.
Having looked up caterpillars on the internet we found out that it was an elephant hawk moth caterpillar.
THE picture sent in by Bob Butterfield looks like the caterpillar of the deaths head hawk moth.
The beast is the caterpillar of the elephant hawk moth - so no beastly threat but something destined to metamorphose into something of beauty.
SHOCKER: Tim Jenkins, of Stratford Butterfly Farm, with the caterpillar that will eventually mutate into the death's-head hawk moth (inset)
Morgansen and another AIRFOILS member, University of Washington biologist Tom Daniel, saw this special dance when they put hawk moths into a semicircle arena covered with LED panels.
Hawk moths use wing sensors to assist in flight control too, Daniel's team reported last July in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Caption: Twerk it Researchers use a curved panel of LED lights (right) and high-speed cameras to examine hawk moth hovering.
READY TO HATCH: Kath Gilbert spots that trees along a path between Kirby Corner and Charter Avenue in Canley are blanketed by moth cocoons COLOURFUL ARRAY: From top, the frosted orange moth, scallop shell moth, goldspot moth, garden tiger moths and the elephant hawk moth
EXOTIC: Above, a hummingbird hawk moth, left, a painted lady and a speckled wood
Sun-loving species such as the speckled wood and painted lady butterflies, as well as the hummingbird hawk moth, are increasingly being seen in our region as a result of global warming.