Death's-head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos
Adult • Isles of Scilly, Cornwall • © Keith Naylor

69.005 BF1973

Death's-head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos

(Linnaeus, 1758)

Wingspan 80-120 mm.

The largest moth to appear in Britain, sporting a wingspan of up to 12 or 13cm, this is a striking species, though it is not native. Immigrants arrive from southern Europe, usually several in each year, during late summer and autumn.

It has the unusual habit of entering beehives in search of honey, and if handled, emits a loud squeak.

The large caterpillar feeds on potato (Solanum tuberosum), and is sometimes found in potato fields during good immigration years.
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