Laothoe populi

Laothoe populi
Laothoe populi
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Sphingidae
Genus: Laothoe
Species: L. populi
Binomial name
Laothoe populi
(Linnaeus, 1758)[1]
  • Sphinx populi Linnaeus, 1758
  • Sphinx tremulae Borkhausen, 1793
  • Merinthus palustris Holle, 1865
  • Smerinthus borkhauseni Bartel, 1900
  • Smerinthus roseotincta Reuter, 1893
  • Amorpha populi angustata (Closs, 1916)
  • Amorpha populi depupillatus (Silbernagel, 1943)
  • Amorpha populi flavomaculata Mezger, 1928
  • Amorpha populi lappona Rangnow, 1935
  • Amorpha populi pallida Tutt, 1902
  • Amorpha populi philiponi Huard, 1928
  • Amorpha populi suffusa Tutt, 1902
  • Laothoe populi albida Cockayne, 1953
  • Laothoe populi basilutescens Cockayne, 1953
  • Laothoe populi bicolor (Lempke, 1959)
  • Laothoe populi minor (Vilarrubia, 1973)
  • Laothoe populi moesta Cockayne, 1953
  • Laothoe populi pallida Newnham, 1900
  • Merinthus populi salicis Holle, 1865
  • Smerinthus populi cinerea-diluta Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi decorata Schultz, 1903
  • Smerinthus populi ferruginea-fasciata Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi ferruginea Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi fuchsi Bartel, 1900
  • Smerinthus populi grisea-diluta Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi grisea Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi pallida-fasciata Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi rectilineata Klemensiewicz, 1912
  • Smerinthus populi rufa-diluta Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi rufa Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi rufescens (de Selys-Longschamps, 1857)
  • Smerinthus populi rufescens Fuchs, 1889
  • Smerinthus populi subflava Gillmer, 1904
  • Smerinthus populi violacea Newnham, 1900

The Poplar Hawk-moth (Laothoe populi) is a moth of the family Sphingidae. It is found throughout the Palearctic region and the Near East and is one of the most common members of the family in the region.[2]

This is a large (wingspan 70–100 mm), rather odd-looking, species, usually light grey marked with darker grey fascia but with the greys occasionally replaced by buffish tones (this form is more frequent among females than males). Its slightly peculiar appearance is mainly due to its habit of resting with its hindwings held further forward than (but still half hidden by) the forewings (the species lacks a frenulum joining the wings together). It is said to look like a cluster of dead leaves of the main host, poplar. When disturbed, the moth will suddenly reveal a bright orange-red patch on the hindwing, possibly as a distraction or startle display. Gynandromorphs, half female and half male, are common.[2]


Life cycle

Mating pair showing both color variants of Laothoe populi

One or two broods are produced each year and adults can be seen from May to September. The adults do not feed. The species overwinters as a pupa.


The egg is large, spherical, pale green, and glossy, and is laid singly or in pairs on the underside of leaves of the host plant.[2] Females lay up to 200 eggs.


A poplar hawk-moth caterpillar

On first hatching the larva is pale green with small yellow tubercules and a cream-coloured tail horn. Later, it develops yellow diagonal stripes on its sides, and pink spiracles. Individuals feeding on willows may become quite heavily spotted with red. Others are more bluish white with cream stripes and tubercules. They are stout bodied, and grow to 65–85 mm.[2]


The larva pupates in an earthen cell 2–3 cm below the surface, near its host plant. It has a short cremaster.[2]


Although they emerge late at night or early in the morning, the species flies starting from the second night and is strongly attracted to light. The proboscis is non-functional, so they do not feed as adults.[2]

Host plants

It feeds mainly on poplar and aspen but sometimes on willow, alder, apple, birch, elm, oak and ash. The food plant often depends on location.[2]


  • Laothoe populi populi
  • Laothoe populi lappona (Rangnow, 1935)


  1. ^ "CATE Creating a Taxonomic eScience - Sphingidae". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Pittaway, 1993, page not cited


  • Chinery, Michael (1993) [1986]. Insects of Britain & Northern Europe: The Complete Insect Guide. Collins Field Guide. London: Collins. ISBN 0002199181. 
  • Pittaway, A.R. (1993) [1992]. The Hawkmoths of the Western Palaearctic. London: Harley Books. ISBN 0946589216. 
  • Skinner, Bernard (2009) [1984]. Colour Identification Guide to Moths of the British Isles (Macrolepidoptera). London: Harley Books. ISBN 8788757900. 

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Laothoe populi — Pappelschwärmer Pappelschwärmer (Laothoe populi) Systematik Klasse: Insekten (Insecta) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Laothoe — Pappelschwärmer (Laothoe populi) Systematik Klasse: Insekten (Insecta) Ordnung …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Laothoe — Laothoe …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Laothoe habeli — Systematik Klasse: Insekten (Insecta) Ordnung: Schmetterlinge (Lepidoptera) Familie: Schwärmer (Sphingidae) Unterfamilie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Laothoe austauti — Systematik Klasse: Insekten (Insecta) Ordnung: Schmetterlinge (Lepidoptera) Familie: Schwärmer (Sphingidae) Unterfamilie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Laothoe — populi …   Wikipédia en Français

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