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Elephant Hawk-moth

Elephant Hawk-moth
Photo Information
Copyright: Siegfried Potrykus (siggi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2009-06
Categories: Insects
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2009-08-14 0:25
Viewed: 3113
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The species is found throughout Britain and Ireland except for the north and east of Scotland, and its range extends across Europe, Russia, and into China, northern parts of the Indian subcontinent, Japan and Korea (though not Taiwan). Introduced specimens have been found in British Columbia. In most of their range, the adults are seen from May to July and the caterpillars from July to September, when they pupate. However in some parts of the Mediterranean and China the adults may be seen from April on, sometimes having two broods in a year.
Caterpillar in "elephant" pose
Caterpillar in "snake" pose
The larva is about 75mm long, green and brown in colour. Like most hawk moth caterpillars, they have a backward curving spine or "horn" on the final abdominal segment. The anterior of the caterpillar appears to have the shape of a trunk-like snout. It is this elephant look, rather than its large size, that gives the moth its name. When startled, the caterpillar draws its trunk into its foremost body segment. This posture resembles a snake with a large head and four large eye-like patches. Caterpillars are preyed upon by birds, but these shy away (at least for some time) from caterpillars in "snake" pose. It is not known whether the birds take the caterpillar to actually resemble a snake, or are frightened by the sudden change of a familiar prey item into an unusual and boldly-patterned shape (Stevens 2005).

The preferred food plants of the caterpillar are willowherb and bedstraw, though it will also take fuchsias.
The imago (adult) tends to feed in the evening, and often takes nectar from garden plants like honeysuckles and petunias, so it is quite often seen in urban settings. The moth has a wing span typically between 50 and 70 mm. It is spectacularly coloured, seeming to shimmer with green and red when in motion. The adult moths are eaten by some species of bats.
Two subspecies, Deilephila elpenor elpenor and Deilephila elpenor lewisii, were recognised in the past, but they are no longer regarded as well distinguished. Similarly the subspecies Deilephila elpenor szechuana is now thought to be a synonym for Deilephila elpenor elpenor. The subspecies Deilephila elpenor macromera, found in southern China, northern India, Bhutan and Myanmar, is still regarded as distinct.
The related species, the Small Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila porcellus) and Chitral Elephant Hawk-moth (Deilephila rivularis) are similar but smaller and less colourful.(Wikipedia)

parasbhalla, Argus, cirano, xTauruSx, Helkoryo, skoksalan, sela, boreocypriensis, Jamesp, horias, anel, uleko has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hallo Siegfried,

What a jumbo shot! The caterpillar looks really giant species.
The great details, perfect sharpness, natural colors and the great DOF, collectively makethis shot a superb composition.
Wonderful job!

Thanks for posting.

Paras Bhalla

  • Great 
  • joska Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 806 W: 0 N: 4092] (22535)
  • [2009-08-14 1:13]

Very interesting species. good macro!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-08-14 3:13]

Hello Siggi,
Nice macro of an D. elpenor caterpillar, taken from a good frontal POV with excellent sharpness to show the false eyes and trunk-like head. The BG is a little noisy but the caterpillar fills most of the image.
Thanks and have a good weekend,

  • Great 
  • cirano Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 997 W: 0 N: 944] (13609)
  • [2009-08-14 3:16]

Slav Sîggî,
A very good macro shot of this interesting bug.Nice colors and sharpness,details.Thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2009-08-14 3:28]

Hi Siggi,what a wonderful macro! This is class! Never thought to take a caterpillat from this pov,impressive idea and fantastic realisation! My best compliments for this professional work,have a nice weekend,LUCIANO

Hi Siegfried, Very lovely composition. the moth really looks like elephant, so the name obviously have come from its looks. Very interesting one. I had never seen this one in real. You have captured it very neatly with nice PoV. Great wor!


Superb close up shot of te face of this hawkmoth caterpillar Siegfried.
TFS and greetings,

  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2009-08-14 6:15]

Good viewpoint, very special image. tfs.

Hello Sigfriend

What a neatly composed shot here you really do accentuate his size well in this view and the colour and detail is excellent.
Thank you for sharing
Kind regards Helen

P.S.You can find me and more of my images here Perfectly Captured do come and share your images with us too.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-08-14 10:49]

Hello Siegfried,
What a strange face in this macro. Good sharpness, details and light. Excellent DOF and frontal POV.

  • Great 
  • sela Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 47 W: 0 N: 39] (738)
  • [2009-08-14 11:03]

HI Siggi, what a very great macro! Perfect work.
Regards Rose

Merhaba Sîggî,
A good macro shot of this interesting bug. Very nice colors and sharpness, details.

hello siegfried
great composition with good details and beautiful colours
greeting lou

Hello Siegfried,

an nice macro shot from this caterpillar.
Good pov, sharpness and fine colours.


Wowwww... another amazingly perfect close up shot of a elephant hawkmoth MF! Details and POV are great.
TFS and have anice WE MF Siggi!

Original e impresionante toma Siegfried !
Naturalidad además en esos bellos tonos.
Buen fin de semana: Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2009-08-14 13:50]

Hi Siggi

Great close up here. Excellent detail and dof from an effective view point.


  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2009-08-15 0:09]

Wonderful capture this elephant howk.
Great sharpness, good colors, excellent POV.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-08-15 5:19]

Lieber Siggi,
Dieses Bild ist wirklch sehr beindruckend! Man sucht die Augen, wo sie nicht sind :-). Farblich sehr schönes Bild, gute Komposition und Bildschärfe. Ich hab noch nie eine solche Raupe gesehen, bin mir aber sicher, dass ich sie sofort erkennen würde, wenn mir eine zufällig begegnen würde
Ein schönes Wochenende wünscht Dir

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-08-15 6:31]

Hello Siegfried,
Wow, this is almost too close for comfort - quite scary!! Excellent macro showing sharp details of the caterpillar of the Elephant Hawkmoth. Well done!
TFS and regards, Ulla

Excellent detailed macro dear Siegfried! My best compliments.


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-08-19 3:25]

Hi Siegfried,
a very exciting and interesting shot of this cater.
what a monster ...so near and very sharp wth details.
wonderful presentation.


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