Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Israel

Subject: Unknown hawkmoth
Location: Rehovot, Israel
January 1, 2013 1:57 am
Hello Bugman!
My son found this large hawkmoth caterpillar on our synthetic lawn. It’s about the size of an adult’s index finger and I guessed it was looking for a place to burrow for pupation. We put it in a jar full of soil and it dug right in, so we’re sure of the family identification.
We’d love to know what species to expect in the jar in a few weeks! I searched the web but found nothing similar.
Thanks for your excellent site!
Signature: Ben from Israel

Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar

Hi Ben,
We wish your photo had better detail.  We will try to determine the species identity of this Hornworm.
  We quickly located this matching photo on the Natural History Museum website where it is identified as the Death’s Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar, Acherontia atropos.  There are also matching photos on Shutterstock and Wikimedia Commons.  This is not the typical coloration of the Death’s Head Hawkmoth caterpillar which is more common in its yellow form.

2 thoughts on “Death's Head Hawkmoth Caterpillar from Israel”

  1. Thank you Daniel!
    A Death’s Head? Cool! My son will be thrilled! Sorry for the lack of detail, he took the picture with a cell-phone camera while protecting the caterpillar from the dog…


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