Ongoing Oleanders !

At around the same time as I bought Death's-head Hawk-moth eggs, I also ordered some ova of the Oleander Hawk-moth to rear through and photograph at each stage of development.

The eggs hatched very quickly, so I unfortunately missed the chance to photograph the ova stage and I then had difficulty getting the caterpillars to start feeding. After taking advice, I settled for offering the larva a choice of food-plants - periwinkle and 'disguised' privet (made by dipping the privet into an infusion of periwinkle leaves and allowing it to dry). Apparently, after eating this 'disguised' food for a while, the caterpillars should start to eat normal privet.

In fact, the caterpillars refused the 'disguised' privet whilst in 1st and 2nd instars - so I had to feed them on periwinkle, then transfer them to 'disguised' privet once moulted into 3rd instar. After a few days of feeding on the 'disguised' leaves the caterpillars would then accept 'normal' privet, although they noticeably preferred the tender shoots to larger leaves.

The caterpillars grew quickly to full size then suddenly changed colour immediately before leaving the foodplant to pupate. This colour change only took a few hours and was very striking. Once off the foodplant, the larva formed a loose cocoon amongst leaf debris and pupated over the next 48 hours.

The pupal stage lasted around 20 days before the adult moths emerged.

Click here for images of Oleander Hawk-moth ctarpillars
Click on the thumbnail image (left) to return to the main Oleander Hawk-moth page.

Keith Tailby - 2005