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Death’s Head Moth

Death's Head Moth

 

 

 

The Death’s Head Moth is a large hawk moth with a wingspan of 90–130 mm (about 3.5 to 5 inches). Being one of the largest moths to be found in Europe, it is easily distinguishable by the human skull-shaped pattern of markings on the back of its head. Because of these markings, it has featured in films such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula, The Silence Of The Lambs & The Mothman Phrophecies. The moth also has numerous other unusual features. It has the ability to emit a loud mouse-like squeak if irritated. This sound is produced by expelling air from its proboscis. It often accompanies this sound with flashing its brightly marked abdomen in a further attempt to deter its predators. It is commonly observed raiding beehives for honey at night and is attacked by guard bees at the entrance, but the thick cuticle and resistance to venom allows it to enter the hive. It is able to move about in the hives unmolested because it mimics the scent of the bees. It rests during the day in trees or in the litter, holding the wings like a tent over the body.