Hawkmoths of the UK and Europe
The hawkmoths are a diverse group of moths belonging to the Sphingidae family. They are widely distributed around the world, with many species occurring in Europe. They have stout bodies and narrow pointed wings which allow them to fly rapidly, with most species being nocturnal although a small number are daytime fliers. Most hawkmoths have a long proboscis (tongue) and feed whilst hovering in front of flowers. The larva have a characteristic curved horn or tail at the rear and this has led to them being known in some countries as "hornworms". Several species also have clearly defined oblique stripes which are thought to help with camouflage. They generally spend the winter underground in the pupal stage. Some species are migratory and in the summer months several find their way to the UK from Europe and Africa when conditions are favourable.