Death on the prowl in Iford

10 August 2015
Death on the prowl in Iford
Death's-head hawk-moth in Iford.

I was really excited when I was sent a report of a sighting of a Death's-head hawk-moth caterpillar found by Annie in Iford. The Death's-head hawk-moth is one of the largest moths you can encounter in Britain. It's not native to this island and is a rare migrant species. Records of Death's-head hawk-moths - whether adult or caterpillar - are annual but very few and far between in Sussex. There was just one caterpillar seen in the county last year and only four or five overall in the past five years.

The caterpillar feeds mainly on potato and (suitably enough) deadly nightshade. Annie encountered it wandering through a garden - no doubt en route to find a nice bit of soft soil where it can bury and pupate.


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