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Death's Head Hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos)

Order: Lepidoptera (le-pid-OP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Sphingidae (SFIN-gi-dee) (Info)
Genus: Acherontia
Species: atropos (AT-roh-pos) (Info)

Members' Notes:


On Oct 2, 2006, Magpye from NW Qtr, AR (Zone 6a) wrote:

- Distribution -
Found throughout Africa, Madagascar and most of Europe. A slightly different form, regarded by some as a separate species, is found throughout Asia.

- Derivation of Name -
The Death's head hawk moth is so called because of the skull-like pattern on the thorax. As far as the latin name is concerned, according to Pinhey (1975): "Atropos, one of the Fates, was a daughter of Nox and Erebus and was illustrated... with veiled face and a pair of scissors to cut the thread of life. This is the thoracic pattern of a mask with scissors below it. A sinister but undeserved portrait."

- Life Cycle -

o Adult: When handled the moth emits a loud squeaking sound made using the curled up proboscis. The adult moth raids bee... read more