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moth Swallow-tailed Moths

Identify It >   Moth Section >   Swallow-tailed Moths >

Scientific name:  Ourapteryx sambucaria

Size:  Wingspan up to 60mm

Distribution:  Found throughout most of England, Wales, Northern Ireland and southern Scotland

Months seen:  Adult moths fly from June to August

Habitat:  Gardens, hedgerows, open woodland and wasteground

Food:  Nectar.  The caterpillars feed on ivy, honeysuckle and hawthorn

Special features:  Swallow-tailed moths get their name from the tail-like projections on the hind wings, called 'termen', which resemble the tail extensions of the birds of the same name.

Swallow-tailed moths are a creamy-white colour with some darker streaks running diagonally through the wings.  There are two dark spots on each hind wing at the base of the tail extensions.

The twig-like caterpillars feed at night and remain motionless during the day.  They can be found between August and June.

Swallow-tailed moths fly at night and are easily attracted to lights.

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