Bedstraw Hawk Moth

4 Bedstraw Hawk Moth Facts and Their Fascinating Life Cycle

The Bedstraw Hawk moth is a marvel of nature, known for its vibrant colors and swift, agile flight. This striking insect, found across Europe, Asia, and North America, captivates with its beauty and intriguing behavior. Dive into the world of this moth with us and discover its fascinating facts.

<strong>Bedstraw Hawk Moth</strong>
Scientific name: Hyles gallii
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Sphingidae
Genus: Hyles

Table of Contents

Bedstraw hawk moth appearance

The bedstraw hawk moth looks similar to the striped hawk moth, but it still has its own features to help you recognize it. This species has an olive-brown body with white lines intersecting the thorax and running across each side of the head and body.

It has a significant wingspan, ranging from 60-90 mm, with the males having a slightly smaller span than the females. The wings are long and narrow, with a mix of brown, gray, and green hues.

Bed straw hawk moth (Deilephila galii)

The forewings are generally darker and have a more uniform pattern. On the other hand, the hindwings are lighter, with the black color at the base, white near the body, and bright pink in the middle, followed by a prominent black band and gray margin, whether open or closed. You can see yellow spots on the hindwings, which serve as camouflage or mimicry to deter predators.

The moth’s body is long and pointed, with a long proboscis for feeding on nectar from flowers.


The bedstraw hawk moth has a widespread distribution across Europe, North America, and Asia. In Europe, Bedstraw Hawk-moths live from the Arctic Circle to the Mediterranean. In North America, they are found from Alaska to Quebec. In Asia, they range from Japan and Central Asia to parts of western Africa.

They can be found in warm forest edges, open areas near sea level, sand dunes, grasslands, and heathlands. These habitats provide an abundance of flowering plants for the moths to feed on during dusk and night.


The adult moths feed on nectar from flowers like lilacs, Monarda, and bouncing bets. Their larvae eat plants like bedstraws, rosebay willowherb, fireweed, madders, and fuchsias.

Bedstraw Hawk Moth larvae

Life cycle

The life cycle of bedstraw hawk moths starts with eggs. Female moths lay eggs in small clusters on the leaves and stems of host plants, typically near the tops of the plants or at the tips of the leaves, such as bedstraws or willowherbs.

These eggs hatch into caterpillars, which are approximately 70-80 mm in length and have different color morphs: olive green with yellow spots or black with yellow spots. They have a red head and a red horn at the end of their tail. These larvae consume plants and present from July to September, with the older instars often descending the plant during the day to hide.

Before pupation, the larva’s color darkens. The pupa is mostly brown and is found in the sand. After several weeks, the adult moths emerge from the pupa. The life cycle of the bedstraw hawk moth is completed when the adult moths mate and lay eggs to start the cycle over again. The lifespan of the bedstraw hawk moth is less than a month.


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