Moth name search:
UKMoths: your guide to the moths of Great Britain and Ireland

1973 Death's-head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos

(Linnaeus, 1758)

Distribution Map
Moths Count Logo - link to

Using dataset provided by:
Macro-moth provisional distribution for the British Isles (excluding the Republic of Ireland) from the National Moth Recording Scheme.
Butterfly Conservation

More images

Distribution Map

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.

UKMoths is sponsored by Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies