Lime Hawk-moth Mimas tiliae
(Linnaeus, 1758)Wingspan 55-70 mm.
A reasonably common species in the southern half of Britain, it was most frequent in the London area, where there are still extensive tree-lined avenues. In recent years its distribution has spread northwards and is now regularly found well into North Yorkshire and beyond.
It has a distinctive scalloped-edged forewing, subtly coloured in pinkish and green. The central dark band is quite variable in size and extent.
Occupying woodland and suburban habitats, it flies in May and June, and often comes to light.
The larvae feed on lime (Tilia) as well as a number of other deciduous trees including birch (Betula), alder (Alnus) and elm (Ulmus). They are typically green with yellow stripes and a blue horn at the rear. When ready to pupate, they change colour to a dull greyish or purplish and begin to wander, looking for a pupation site. This is when they are most often encountered.