Prospekt Fauna, Intresting facts

Photo 1. The caterpillar of the spurge hawk moth is preparing for pupation. Pupation lasts through the winter and the first generation of moths emerges in the spring. (Photo by M. Randić)


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.

M. R.

Photo 2. Myrtle spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites) in a rocky pasture on Cres Island. We can often find the caterpillars of the spurge hawk moth on this fleshy and decorative type of spurge. (Photo by M. Randić)