Lime hawk-moth

Lime Hawk-moth

©Margaret Holland

Lime hawk-moth

Scientific name: Mimas tiliae
The lime hawk-moth is a large, night-flying moth that can be seen from May to July in gardens, parks and woods. It is buff-coloured, with green patches on its scalloped-edged wings.

Species information


Wingspan: 4.6-7.8cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to July


The lime hawk-moth is a large hawk-moth, on the wing from May to July. It is commonly found in parks and gardens, as well as woodland, but flies only on warm nights. The caterpillars are quite distinctive: large and green, with pale streaks on each segment and a bluish 'horn' at the tail end. They feed at night on the leaves of lime, silver birch and elm, but the adults don't feed at all. During the day, the adults rest to avoid catching the attention of predators. This species hibernates as a chrysalis.

How to identify

The lime hawk-moth is a pinky-buff colour, with greyish-green at the tip and base of the wings, and two large, dark green patches half way along the forewings. It holds its wings to form the shape of a right-angled triangle. The back edge of the wing is scalloped to aid camouflage.


Found in England and Wales.

Did you know?

Hawk-moth caterpillars can be easily recognised as a group because they are hairless and have a noticeable curved 'horn' at the tail end.

How people can help

To attract butterflies and moths into your garden, plant nectar-rich borders for them to feed along and climbing ivy and shrubs for overwintering insects. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.