Fun Privet Hawk-moth Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Feb 20, 2024 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 19, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
Privet hawk-moth facts illustrate their appearance, habitat, and behavior.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 5.3 Min

Privet hawk-moth, scientifically known as the Sphinx ligustri, is a large, stoutly built moth found throughout the world, especially in the United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe. Apart from their variegated geographic realms, they are introduced as an enormous resident hawk-moth. The privet hawk-moths are known to be frequent garden visitors, especially during the months June-July. As their common name proposes, the privet hawk-moth larvae feed on the evergreen shrub called privet.

These species play a very major role in balancing the ecosystem. People are often ambivalent towards moths, but these spectacular species are eye-catching. The privet hawk-moth is nocturnal and usually feeds during the night. It is observed resting on various tree trunks.

To catch a glimpse of these beautiful moths, you can choose to plant some of the nectar plants, such as a lilac tree or a jasmine plant, on your lawn and watch these fascinating species. You can also help by gathering some twigs, leaves, and plant matter to help the privet hawk-moth caterpillar pupate. They are fond of various scented nectar plants, and so they are often seen hovering around them.

If you were fascinated with what you read so far, then you may find more about the insect below. To read up more such interesting articles, check out these American dagger moth facts and peppered moth facts.

Privet Hawk-Moth Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a privet hawk-moth?

The privet hawk-moth (Sphinx ligustri) is an insect member of the Sphingidae family.

What class of animal does a privet hawk-moth belong to?

Privet hawk-moth belongs to the class of Insecta in the phylum Arthropoda.

How many privet hawk-moths are there in the world?

Privet hawk-moths are spread throughout and are found in varied habitats. The privet hawk-moth is very common and is seen frequently. However, the number of privet hawk-moths that exist has not been evaluated yet.

Where does a privet hawk-moth live?

Privet hawk-moth is a resident hawk moth; hence they live in grasslands, woodlands, and gardens. The privet hawk-moth is found in a large area, including the whole of the United Kingdom, Australia, and Europe. They are frequent visitors to gardens.

What is a privet hawk-moth's habitat?

Privet hawk-moth has a varied habitat which consists of scrubs, countryside areas, and woodlands. Their habitat is not confined to scrubs. They are even found in gardens, especially near scented plants.

Who do privet hawk-moths live with?

The adults are quite outgoing, and they are generally found in groups. However, during their larval stage, they usually live alone.

How long does a privet hawk-moth live?

Adult hawk-moths may live for a few weeks. However, the lifespan of the privet hawk-moth is quite variable. Hence, their lifespan is not known.

How do they reproduce?

The privet hawk-moth undergoes a process of development that includes the larval stage, followed by the pupation, and finally the adult stage. Females lay around a hundred eggs in every breeding season after mating, where each of the privet hawk moth eggs is deposited under the leaves of their host plants. After 10-20 days, the larvae hatches and the caterpillars are often found in July-September. During the winter months, they start pupation, which is further completed in the upcoming summer when the adult moths emerge.

What is their conservation status?

Privet hawk-moths are widespread; however, the privet hawk-moth is not mentioned in the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN Red list of species.

Privet Hawk-Moth Fun Facts

What do privet hawk-moths look like?

Privet hawk-moth adults are dark brown in color with long and narrow front wings. These wings have dark brown speckles on the edges, and when stretched forward, pink tint stripes over their abdomen are observed.

The adults' hindwings are attributed with pink on black stripes. While the privet hawk-moth caterpillars are bright lime green in color, which has stripes of purple and white running downwards towards their tail end. The privet hawk-moth pupae or caterpillars have developed a yellowish black horn at the tail end.

Privet hawk-moth facts are associated with their process of polymorphism.

How cute are they?

Privet hawk-moths are very cute little creatures. But, some people might not think the same about them because of their stripes. The privet hawk-moth caterpillars are very adorable because of their coloration, and the stripes on these caterpillars add up to their uniqueness.

How do they communicate?

Adults mainly use auditory and tactile as well as chemical channels to communicate. If the male privet hawk-moth adults are startled, they make a hissing sound by scratching and rubbing their exoskeleton and scales.

How big is a privet hawk-moth?

Privet hawk-moth size is very large, with its wingspan being 3.5-4.7 in (9-12 cm). They are one and a half times larger than white-lined hawk-moths.

How fast can privet hawk-moths fly?

Privet hawk-moth adults are rapid fliers with a flight speed of 12 mph (19 kph) as fast as the five-spotted hawkmoth. Though they're not as fast as a dragonfly, they have quite the speed compared to other insects.

How much does a privet hawk-moth weigh?

Privet hawk-moth is a large and heavily built insect. However, its weight is not recorded yet.

What are the male and female names of the species?

In terms of sex, the privet hawk-moth has not been distinguished externally. Both of their male and female species are collectively known as privet hawk-moths.

What would you call a baby privet hawk-moth?

A baby privet hawk-moth is termed a caterpillar, pupae, or larvae.

What do they eat?

Privet hawk-moth adults feed on the nectar of some fragrant flowers such as those of the lilac tree, jasmine, and honeysuckle. Whereas the privet hawk moth caterpillar's food includes leaves of some plants such as privets, Guelder rose, honeysuckle, lilac, and ash saplings.

Are they dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous and neither are the privet hawk-moths poisonous. They do not pose any potential harm to humans. Though, if they are startled, the male moths make a sound, using their spines and the set of scales located at the end of the abdomen.

Would they make a good pet?

No, privet hawk-moths would not make a good pet as they are adapted to the wild habitat.

Did you know...

Privet hawk-moth has an affinity towards the light. Hence, they are usually seen lingering near buildings with lights during the night.

Are privet hawk-moths rare?

No, the privet hawk-moth is not rare, nor is privet hawk-moth caterpillar rare as they are frequently seen in many places as they are widespread. However, they might be rare in some states of the north in the UK.

How long does an Australian privet hawk-moth live?

This moth lives for 10-30 days and completes mating, and lays eggs for the next generation to go on. However, the exact data regarding their lifespan is not available, as it varies a lot.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these Indianmeal moth facts and plume moth facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable privet hawk moth coloring pages.

Privet Hawk-Moth Facts

What Did They Prey On?


What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

suburbs, woodlands, grasslands, gardens

Where Do They Live?

united kingdom, europe

How Long Were They?

Wingspan: 3.5-4.7 in (8.9-12 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Sphinx ligustri

What Do They Look Like?

Dark brown

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?


What is their Conservation Status?

Not listed
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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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