Sphingidae : Sphinginae
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Photo © CLIVE IRELAND,  Westleton 12 Sept 2015

Immature stages

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

(Linnaeus, 1758) 1973 / 69.005

Morley's Final Catalogue: Another periodical and sometimes frequent Hawk, whose potato-feeding larvae are as often seen as imagines. Found almost annually at Stowmarket around 1856 (Nat. vii, 276); two occurred at Woolverstone in 1858 (Ent. Wk. Int. v, 30); one at Hollesley (Hkg) and two at Ipswich (Ager) in 1898; very plentiful at Aldeburgh in 1885 (Ent. 1886, p.15); one at Bramfield and several about Ipswich in 1894-6 (Pyett, Platten); one at Woodbridge in 1910 (Rope); one at Needham in 1922 (Platten); one at Bradwell in 1928 (Mr). For the great influx of 1933 cf. Trans. ii, 183; it then occurred also at Copdock on 25 October, Hemley and in Beccles.

Recent Suffolk Status: A very rare immigrant with recent records from Dunwich Heath on 2005 and 31.10.2014, Westleton 12.09.2015 (C. Ireland), Bawdsey Hall on 19.10.2017 (M.J. Deans), a larva at Gifford's Hall 10.08.2019 (O. Sullivan), Landguard 14.09.2019 (N. Odin), Felixstowe 17.09.2020 (M. Whitcombe) and Bury St Edmunds 20/10/2020, found long dead on a wall (G. Proctor).
In 2023 there were 2 records of larvae - Long Melford and Hessett, plus a record of an adult found by day in the pocket of a pair of shorts hanging on a washing line in Beccles!

Life history: Larvae very rarely found, normally wandering looking for sites to pupate in late summer/autumn.

Identification: Unmistakable.

Habitats: Mainly coastal sites as it is an immigrant but could turn up anywhere.

Retained Specimen / Photograph will be Required.

Recorded in 23 (40%) of 58 10k Squares.
First Recorded in 1856.
Last Recorded in 2023.
Additional Stats

< Convolvulus Hawk-moth | Privet Hawk-moth >

List Species Records   [Show All Latest]
Latest 5 Records
Date#VC10k Area
01/10/2023125TM49 - Somerleyton/Beccles
24/09/2023126TL96 - Thurston/Elmswell
24/09/2023125TM33 - Bawdsey/Felixstowe
20/09/2023126TL84 - Sudbury/Glemsford
23/10/2020126TL75 - Wickhambrook
Show Details | 1990 to 2023 | 2000 to 2023 | Graph Key
Express Record Death's-head Hawk-moth
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Click Map for Details

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   [Show Flight Times]
Underlying maps using Digital Map Data © Norfolk Online Lepidoptera Archive - NOLA™ - Suffolk 2024. © James Wheeler - Norfolk Moths 2007 - 2024. Data © NOLA™ - Suffolk 2024
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