By Kim Pullen – Australian National Insect Collection

Hawk moths are built for speed in the air. Their smooth tapered body houses powerful flight muscles in the thorax, powering  a pair of long but relatively narrow forewings and much smaller hind wings.

An adult Scrofa Hawk Moth

Not only can they fly fast and far, but they can also expertly hover.

The Scrofa Hawk Moth, Hippotion scrofa, is common across the Australian continent and in Tasmania. About 3cm long in the body and double that in wingspan, the moth is a rich light brown with flashy orange hind wings.

Scrofa Hawk Moth larva

Scrofa Hawk Moth larva

As a large, plump caterpillar it eats a range of native plants along with a few introduced ones, including Coprosma, the reason for its alternative common name of Coprosma Hawk Moth. A single caterpillar can have a sizeable impact on a garden plant because of its size and appetite.

Scrofa Hawk Moth

A Scrofa Hawk Moth pupa

It drops down into the soil for the penultimate pupa stage of its development, where the final transformation into the adult moth takes place.


  1. I’ve just seen one for the first time in our garden, here in Cairns, following two weeks of heavy rain. It is very beautiful.

  2. Is Hippotion celerio present in Tasmania? This year, on the grape vine, for the first time I have seen big caterpillars that look similar to the internet images for this one.

    1. Hi Caroline, yes — H. celerio is found in Tasmania. Your caterpillars could metamorphose into these beauties. Thanks, Jesse.

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