940true dots bottomright 170true false 800none
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide1
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide2
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide4
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide5
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide6
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide7
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide8
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide9
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide10
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide11
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide12
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide13
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide14
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide15
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide16
  • 5000 random false 60 bottom 30
    Slide17
  • 5000 fade false 60 bottom 30
    Slide18

Death’s Head Hawk Moth

Death’s Head Hawk Moth

This November our Death\\’s Head Hawk Moth caterpillars arrived. Each week we plan to measure the caterpillars.The adult moths have a pattern of a skull & crossboness on their thorax and squeak like mice. In the wild the moths steal honey from bee hives. Did you know that the queen bee squeaks? The moth goes into the hive squeaking, eats the honey and the bees don\\’t attack it thinking its the queen bee. Now that\\’s clever! Deaths Head hawk imago
deaths head hawk moth 1

deaths head hawk moth2

death head hawk 3

The eggs are 1mm in diameter

5 days old – 10mm

Close up of the caterpillar. It has a tiny black tail

 

 

deaths head penny  deaths head pupa 2

Caterpillar next to a penny, the tail has changed colour

From left to right, a caterpillar changing from a caterpillar to a chrysalis,

Every day we need to feed the caterpillars with privet leaves and by the next day they have stripped the branches bare.

 

deaths head caterpillar 1 deaths head caterpillar 2

deaths head caterpillar

The moths have hatched! The Death’s Head Hawkmoth steals honey from bee hives and so has bright yellow and black markings to its body. It squeaks like a mouse when handled as it steals honey from bee hives. However if it were to enter a bee hive it would be killed immediately. So the moth squeaks imitating the queen bee, who also squeaks. So all the bees ignore the moth while the moth feasts on the honey. We will need to unravel the moths tongue to feed it on a solution of clear honey and water.

 

Another sinister aspect is the pattern of a skull on the moths back.

Even the species name is related to death. It is called Acheronita atropos in Latin. Atropos was one of the three Moirai, goddesses of fate and destiny. In addition the genus name Acherontia is derived from Acheron, a river in

Greece, which in Greek mythology was known as the river of pain, and was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld

Deaths Head hawk imago3
Deaths Head hawk imago1 Deaths Head hawk imago2