Gardener finds rare caterpillars
Appeared on Space For Nature on 6th September 2004
A gardener in Somerset has found some caterpillars of the death's head hawkmoth feeding on potato plants in her garden.
The death's head hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos) is a huge moth (the largest which occurs in Britain) famously named for the skull-like markings on the thorax of the adult. The moth breeds in southern Europe and in Africa but is a regular migrant to Britain in small numbers. Although the adult migrants sometimes lay eggs (commonly on potatoes), the huge caterpillars will pupate but cannot survive the British winter.
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