THE SPURGE HAWK MOTH
The spurge hawk moth (Celerio /Hyles/ euphorbiae) is attracted to fleshy types of spurges such as the wulfen spurge and myrtle spurge. The female moth lays its eggs on the spurge’s leaves and stems, which contain a venomous, white, milky sap. The caterpillars, covered in bright and contrasting black-red-white-yellow colours, feed on spurge leaves. The conspicuous colouring of this unusual caterpillar, together with the red and black “tail” at the end of the back part of its body, attracts the attention of potential predators and warns them that the caterpillar is armed with venomous substances, derived from the food it eats.