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Pellucid Hawk Moth (Cephonodes hylas)

The pellucid hawk moth is a widely distributed hawk moth, occupying the continents of Africa, Asia, and Australia. It was first described by famed Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1771.

Pellucid Hawk Moth


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Sphingidae
  • Genus: Cephonodes
  • Scientific Name: Cephonodes hylas

Description and Identification


The larva can have a green or smoky black body. The green caterpillars also have a blue head, and spiracles. A blue line bordered in white is also seen running across the upper parts of their body. The sub dorsal line appear whitish ending in a yellowish streak towards the base of their horn.

Their black counterparts have a pale orange or brown head.

Pellucid Hawk Moth Caterpillar



The pupae have a dark brown body.

Pellucid Hawk Moth Pupa


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance: When opened and closed, the wings having a black, and narrow marginal border appear transparent.

It also has a green or yellow abdomen marked in black bands.

Average wingspan: 4.5–7.3 cm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: Not recorded

Cephonodes hylas



The moths lay eggs either on or in the soil close to the host plant.

Pellucid Hawk Moth Eggs


Quick Facts

Other NamesCoffee bee hawkmoth, coffee clearwing moth
DistributionAfrica, Australia, India, Japan, Near East, Middle East,  Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia  
HabitatVariable, only depending on warm temperatures
Lifespan of Adults1 month
PredatorsParasitoid wasps
Host PlantsRubiaceae plants like Burchellia, Gardenia, Kraussia, Pavetta, and Vangueria
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • This moth has four sub-species – Cephonodes hylas hylas  (Sri Lanka, China and Japan), Cephonodes hylas australis (Australia), Cephonodes hylas melanogaster (Indonesia), and Cephonodes hylas virescens( Ethiopian Region, primarily Madagascar and Seychelles).
  • They replicate a bumblebee in their stout body and transparent wing pattern, earning the name ‘coffee bee hawkmoth’.
Coffee Bee Hawkmoth


Coffee Clearwing


Pellucid Hawk Moth Picture


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