(c) Simon Wooley & Julia Casson
Widespread in Europe and Asia, Poplar Hawkmoth can be found in urban areas and in the woods. During the day, She rests on poplar trees where She is perfectly camouflaged. Because of her grey-brown wings, She looks like withered leaves against a tree trunk. However, most people see usually Poplar Hawkmoth resting on walls and fence posts. What makes Poplar Hawkmoth unusual is how She rests. She holds her hindwings above her forewings.
Poplar Hawkmoth Caterpillars eat the leaves of the poplar tree They hatch on. Because of their enormous appetites, They easily become the size of a finger. These green Caterpillars, with a yellow racing stripe on their backs, have orange-red breathing holes (spiracles). Added to their outrageous look is their horn, a thorn-like spike, located near the end of their tails. To scare away predators, Poplar Hawkmoth Caterpillars menacingly wave their horns. Because of their size and colorfulness, people can easily spot Poplar Hawkmoth Caterpillars on the ground under the trees.
Poplar Hawkmoth teaches how to use color creatively. She scares off intruders by lifting her forewings to reveal fiery colored hindwings. Meanwhile Poplar Hawkmoth Caterpillar looks scary in her bright colors of green, yellow, and orange-red waving her spiky horn. Color can be used in various ways. For example use red, orange, and yellow colors to tell people you are dangerous or to disguise the fact you are not.
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Poplar Moth photo copyrighted by Simon Woolley and Julia Casson of Wildlife from Winchester (U.K.)