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Spurge Hawk Moth (Hyles euphorbiae)

The spurge hawk moth is a member of the family of hawk moths. It is used as a biological control agent to check the noxious weed leafy spurge population.

Spurge Hawk Moth


Scientific Classification

  • Family: Sphingidae
  • Genus: Hyles
  • Scientific Name: Hyles euphorbiae

Description and Identification


The larvae are black, with countless white dots. Beneath these spots, there are another set of coral-red spots. The head and posterior end horn are the same color, with a bright coral-red line connecting them.


They pupate inside a pale-brown chrysalis and remain loosely buried on the sand near the sea coast.

Spurge Hawk Moth Pupa


Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When open, the wings are gray with a square-shaped olive-brown blotch and an oblique band stretching from the apex to the margin of the wing. When closed, the patterns remain the same.

Hindwings: When open, the upperside is black with a green margin, and a pinkish-brown median band is present. When closed, the bands become hidden.

Average wingspan: 6.4 – 7.7 cm

Flight pattern: Erratic

Season: Late May – October

Hyles euphorbiae



The eggs are covered in liquid gum.

Spurge Hawk Moth Eggs


Quick Facts

DistributionCentral and southern Europe, most notably Spain and France
HabitatCoastal sand dunes
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
PredatorsSeagulls, terns
Host PlantsNoxious weed leafy spurge
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • There are two sub-species – Hyles euphorbiae euphorbiae and Hyles euphorbiae conspicua.
Spurge Hawk Moth Image


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