Species Account

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Summary Data

Season (Adult / Immature):

National Status: Common

Local Status: Uncommon and thinly distributed or restricted resident.

Local Record: Grade 1   See here for explanation

Flight time: One generation, May-Jul.

Forewing: 36-44mm.

Foodplant: Willows and sallows. Apple, Crab Apple.

IMPORTANT - Please note that the maps and accounts are provisional, subject to change and further update.  The whole dataset still needs to go through the final verification process and it is likely that a very small number of records will not satisfy the present requirements and there are other records that have not been formally submitted.  The information is for guidance only.

Record breakdown:

Year first recorded190519831905
Year last recorded201120092011
Number of records1097902374
Number of individuals17251333716
Unique positions16810356
Unique locations1449306
Adult records1057892292
Immature records102

For the region, we have a total of 2374 records from 306 sites. Earliest record on file is in 1905.


1980 Eyed Hawk-moth 04 pair in cop.
© Anne Parsons
1980 Eyed Hawk-moth 03
© Will Bown
1980 Eyed Hawk-moth 02
© Dave Foot
1980 Eyed Hawk-moth 01
© Tom Morris

Species Account

For further information refer UK Moths.

Davey, P., 2009: A species occurring in England and Wales, the larva feeding on sallow and willow (Salix spp.), apple (Malus spp.) and aspen (Populus tremula). In Dorset, the moth is widespread across the county but at low density. It is most often seen in damp habitats where Salix abounds, on the edges of lagoons, marshes and rivers, and also ondamp heathland where there are large stocks of sallow. The moth has also been noted close to orchards with apple trees, for example at Holnest. The national norm of a partial second brood in late July and early August holds true for Dorset. The following very late example was trapped in sallow-rich damp heathland habitat: Studland Heath, at MV light on 13 October 1991 (P Davey).

An account of a lucky escape is recorded in the Reverend E Bankes diary entry for 26 June 1905: "When approaching Norden Farm pond at 9:15pm (late dusk) a swarthy form, looking like a large hawk-moth, passed me flying in the direction of the pond. On arriving at the pond, I watched it for a few minutes flying round and round over the pond frequently just lowering itself so as to dip itself in the water as some birds often enjoy doing. Finally in one of these plunges it got too far immersed and was unable to extricate itself. It then began to swim vigorously and made considerable progress reaching the middle of the pond, but since it then appeared to be unable to make much headway though still swimming vigorously, I walked into the pond and fished it out with my net. It proved to be a large female Eyed Hawk! I can only assume that it saw, as I myself did, in the water the last gleams of light in the sky, and flew thereto as it would to a lamp."

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