Hippotion celerio, also known as the “vine-hawkmoth” or “silver-lined hawkmoth” is a peculiar little hawkmoth found in Africa and Asia. They have excellent flight capabilities and are often found migrating to parts of Australia and Europe.
This species has a quite long proboscis, which they use to feed from flowers. They are able to do this in flight, hovering in the air.
In captivity they will readily feed from improvised artificial flowers, which may be colorful plates, cups, lids or bottlecaps filled with a 50:50 sugar/water mixture. It is important that they are colorful, for the moth will confuse it with a flower. The best colours to feed them from are blue, red or purple objects.
These moths are active at dusk, for only a few hours a day, in low-light conditions. In this time they visit flower beds to feed upon nectar. Mating occurs after dusk. During the day these moths will assume a resting position. In captivitiy they will readily mate with eachother, if provided enough food and a reasonbly large and airy cage.
After copulating, the female will start laying fertile eggs. She prefers to place them upon host plant – in captivity host plant will encourage oviposition of the female. She may however also lay her eggs in random places (in my case: on my hand, or on furniture, or in the holes of the mesh in the cage!)
This species may be a pest in grape fields, for they accept Vitis sp. (Grapevine) as host plant. Other host plants include Epilobium (willowherb), Fuchsia (Fuchsia), Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper), and other related vines such as Cissus. Notable is that in captivity, this species may also be reared on lettuce!
The eggs are tiny, green and a bit transparent and are laid plentiful. They will hatch relatively fast, in about a week.
After feeding for multiple weeks and reaching the final instar, the caterpillars will burrow in the earth, and build a hollow subterranean chamber to pupate in. The pupae are long, thin and silvery grey.