Sphingidae: Sphinginae

06830 Death's-head Hawk-moth Acherontia atropos, (Linnaeus, 1758)

BF1973 (ABH69.005)


General Information

This species has an unmistakable skull-like marking on its thorax. When disturbed it can make a squeaking sound by passing air over a reed like structure in its proboscis. Larvae are occasionally found in organic potato crops.


Pupates underground.


Folklore regards this moth as an omen of death. In Greek mythology, Atropos, one of the three daughters of Necessity, cuts the thread of life.

Overwinters as Doesn't overwinter in the UK.
Both sexes come to light.

Forewing length: 52-60mm.
Foodplant(s): Potato (Solanum tuberosum), Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna)
Flying: One generation, late August-late October (sometimes May-late November)
UK Presence: Immigrant
National status: Unknown


Gardens and allotments amongst potato crops.

Regional Information

There are no records in the system yet in Bulgaria.

Larva Type:
With lumps, bumps or horn(s)
Yellow, green, brown, purple, grey, white
No. of Proleg Pairs: