Death's Head Hawkmoth from South Africa

Deaths head moth in Centurion, South Africa
January 13, 2010
Hi Bugman
My 14yr old son has found this huge moth
on the front wall of our house, he has now stayed in the same spot since the 11th of Jan and today is the 13th, without moving an inch!!! Comparing pics on the internet this looks like the deaths head moth, but which one?Is he dying, is there anything we can do?When I got close with the camera, it made a loud squeeking noise and squirted a brown liquid from its tail end (yuk!!)
Andrew and James Foxley
Centurion ( Pretoria) South Africa

Death's Head Hawkmoth
Death's Head Hawkmoth

Dear Andrew and James,
We are thrilled to get your photograph of a Death’s Head Hawkmoth, Acherontia atropos, the species found in South Africa.  We frequently receive photos of the caterpillars, but submissions of the imago are not as common to our site.  The squeaking is a well documented defense mechanism.  Often, Sphinx Moths are attracted to lights and rest several days before beginning to fly again.

Photo of author

bugman

BugMan aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. WhatsThatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

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