Sphingidae : Sphinginae
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Photo © Mike Crewe,  Weybourne, October 13th 2005

Immature stages

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Similar Norfolk Species: None
Death's-head Hawk-moth
Acherontia atropos

(Linnaeus, 1758) 1973 / 69.005
Norfolk status
Rare immigrant.
Adult moths have an unmistakable skull-like marking on thorax. Unable to overwinter, seldom seen except in light traps or in beehives feeding on honey.

When disturbed, the adult makes a unique squeeking sound by passing air over a reed like structure in its proboscis.

Adults arriving in the summer can sometimes produce larvae that pupates. Larvae still occasionally found in Norfolk.

Larvae and pupae were once commonly found in potato fields throughout Norfolk, especially in the year 1950, when 326 were recorded from 64 different locations (see map). Sadly, the use of pesticides on commercial crops has resulted in a major decline.

Folklore regards this moth as an omen of death. In Greek mythology one of the three daughters of Necessity, known as the Moirai (Fates), named Atropos cuts the thread of life!

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 41 (55%) of 74 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1834.
Last Recorded in 2022.
Additional Stats

< Convolvulus Hawk-moth  |  Privet Hawk-moth >

Deaths Head Hawk Moths in Norfolk - E A Ellis 1950 Trans. 17(2)
List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
26/05/2022127TG04 - Blakeney/Cley
08/10/2021127TG31 - Horning/Hoveton
04/08/2021127TG12 - Aylsham
08/11/2020127TG14 - Sheringham
26/10/2020128TF74 - Holme/Titchwell
Show Details | 1990 to 2021 | 2000 to 2021 | Graph Key
Express Record Death's-head Hawk-moth
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Copyright © Lepidoptera UK 2022

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Forewing: 52-60mm.
Flight: Aug-Oct. (pos May-Nov)
Foodplant:   Potato, Deadly Nightshade
GB Status: Immigrant
Verification Grade:  Adult: 3
 Immature Adult

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Underlying maps using Digital Map Data © NOLA™ 2022. © Lepidoptera UK - Jim Wheeler - Norfolk Moths 2007 - 2022. Data © NOLA™ 2022
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