One evening in late February I sat down to eat dinner after a day of hiking in hills around New Taipei City and discovered that someone else shared my taste in clothes. A very large green moth-like insect had landed on my pants with a green floral pattern. The inset in the first photo shows that the body was about 5.5 centimeters long. Included are additional cropped top, side and front photos, the top one without flash for a better appreciation of the colors.

It frightened me at first because it was just sitting there and I have no idea how long I'd been walking around with it. After it's photo shoot I brought it outside and located some bushes and was able to convince it to move. It seemed quite sluggish though it wasn't very cool yet (I estimate perhaps 22 C)

Can anyone identify this obviously style-conscious insect, and speculate why it was lethargic and not interested in flying away?

Giant moth with good taste in clothes

Giant moth with good taste in clothes

Giant moth with good taste in clothes

Giant moth with good taste in clothes

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    $\begingroup$ related? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 3:04
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    $\begingroup$ I came here for "with great taste" and left relieved, but a little disappointed. Perhaps a slight nudge to the title? Though I suspect the title may be why this is so high up on HNQ. Or maybe that's the point? ;) $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ Dissapointed this was not about eating moths. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 21:45
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    $\begingroup$ @wwarriner as for titles, I don't target HNQ but I think it's okay to add a little bit of intrigue to a title now and again, as long as the question itself is still there; Bird brain-eating Mantis - how does it crack the skull? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 22:48
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    $\begingroup$ Am I the only one who finds the camouflage stunningly effective? Did it evolve on pants with floral patterns?? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 25, 2020 at 12:20

1 Answer 1


That appears to be an Oleander Hawk-moth a member of the Sphinx moth family.

I think the only other possibility for Taiwan is the quite similar Jade Hawk-moth, but that supposedly has a dark purplish colored head.

Image for comparison: Shantanu Kuveskar / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) Source: Shantanu Kuveskar / CC BY-SA.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting! Thank you for the speedy identification; it certainly looks the same. I wonder why this specimen has no antennae, while mine has a pretty big pair. Also, any thoughts on the lethargy? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 11:21
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    $\begingroup$ If you visit the linked site you'll find pictures of male from both sides that shows the same beautiful antennae as your picture shows .. only the "lead" picture doesn't show antennae for unknown reasons $\endgroup$
    – eagle275
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 16:34
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: You're welcome. The antennae are sexually dimorphic in this species with the females having "slightly clubbed" antennae, but I don't know why they aren't visible in this picture. Not sure why he was so sluggish, but supposedly these moths are most active around dawn and dusk, so maybe you were disturbing his beauty sleep? $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh: I’ve often seem moths in warm climates behaving like you describe; I’ve always interpreted it not so much as lethargy as just plain cussedness. $\endgroup$
    – PLL
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 18:48

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