Why is the Elephant Hawk pink? I intend to find out, but suspect that it may have something to do with the colour's ability to soften harsh shapes, such as the moth's steeply angled 'jet-plane' wings. I am repeating myself again, but even their staid Lordships of the British Admiralty accepted pink paint on some of their warships in the First World War on exactly this camouflage principle. (Update: check out Phil Gates' fascinating comment below and also follow his truly wonderful link. All Phil's blogs are outstanding and make me want to visit Durham and around at every possible opportunity).
The other thing to say about the Elephant Hawk, and its close relative the Small Elephant Hawk which has not yet visited us in Oxfordshire though it did in Leeds, is that both are a fine introduction to newcomers to the world of moths. In the UK in late August, it is always worth checking out the lower leaves of Rosebay Willow Herb in late afternoon, for the distinctive caterpillars of both species.
Disguised earlier on in the season by green colouring, very much the same as the leaves, they become much easier to spot as they near pupation because they change to elephant grey, hence the name. Good hunting!
M for Martin?
Or W for Wainwright?
And here's a reminder of what the whole moth looks like, after all those bitty pics.