Oleander Hawk-moth (Daphnis nerii)

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Arthropoda

Class: Insecta

Order: Lepidoptera

Family: Sphingidae

Genus: Daphnis

Species: D. nerii

Binomial name

Daphnis nerii

(Linnaeus, 1758)


• Deilephila nerii

• Sphinx nerii

Oleander Hawk-Moth

Daphnis nerii or Oleander Hawk-moth is a member of the Sphingidae family, whose members are commonly known as the hummingbird, sphinx or hawk moths. This beautiful and attractive species has a wingspan of 8-12 cm. Its forewings are intricately patterned in gorgeous shades of olive green and marked with small blotches of pink and white, including a pale white apical band on each forewing. The hindwings, on the other hand, are greyish green, with a pale white wavy line. Body is mostly olive green too, with white markings and measures about 5 cm from head to tail.


Daphnis nerii is a large hawk-moth found in wide areas of Africa and Asia. It is a migratory species, flying to parts of eastern and southern Europe during the summer.

Feeding habits

The adults feed on nectar of a great variety of flowers. They have a preference for fragrant species like petunia, jasmine and honeysuckle. They are especially active in the twilight time, hovering over the flowers after sunset.

The caterpillars feed mainly on oleander (Nerium oleander) leaves, a highly toxic plant to which toxicity they are immune. They also may feed on most plants of the Apocynaceae family, such as Adenium obesum, and Tabernaemontana divaricata and Alstonia scholaris in India.

Life cycle

The newborn caterpillars are pale blue. Their color changes to green as they grow. They have two spots resembling eyes on the forefront of their body.

The chrysalis is pale reddish or brownish-white and has a wax-like appearance. It lies directly on the earth, under moss or dry leaves.

Related species

Daphnis hypothous, found in South and Southeast Asia.


I found this fine specimen at the yesterday evening. moth was quite friendly and did not get alarmed by my photography.

In the next few days I found the caterpillars and eggs of this moth.


1 Egg Larva Stage

2 Grown Caterpillar I

3 Grown Caterpillar II

4 Full Grown Caterpillar

5 About to form Chrysalis (Pupa)

6 Chrysalis (Pupa)

7 Chrysalis (Pupa)

Oleander Hawk-moth

Oleander Hawk-moth

Oleander Hawk-moth