An Alluring Caterpillar On Mount Banping

A hawk-moth caterpillar crawling amongst the leaf litter
A hawk-moth caterpillar crawling amongst the leaf litter

This pretty caterpillar caught my eye whilst hiking up Bànpíngshān 半屏山 that straddles Kaohsiung’s Zuǒying 左營區 and Nánzǐ 楠梓區 districts. Unlike in my native England, the sheer variety of the wildlife in Taiwan—even in this forested anomaly ensconced amongst the surrounding urban jungle—is incredibly rich, with countless colourful species whizzing by and scuttling away when you pass through the humid woodland.

From trying to find a decent match via Google, I think that this intricately patterned beastie is either of the Oleander Hawk-moth variety (Daphnis Nerii) or possibly Daphnis hypothous; and appears to be fairly mature given the dark Red colouring approaching that of its final form, rather than the bright Green of the younger instar.

They’re very common throughout Taiwan and Southeast Asia — sometimes even finding their way to my native shores — but still a worthy find in the great Taiwan bug hunt!