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Deaths-head moths!

27 February 2013 by Angela

a yellow caterpillar eating some leaves

Would you like a nice Chianti with that Mr Caterpillar…?

Paul Finnegan, a member of our Bug House team, has been lucky enough to receive some Death’s-head Hawkmoth caterpillars for World Museum.

The Death’s-head is the largest moth in the UK with a wingspan of up to six inches and played a starring role in the famous Silence of the Lamb’s movie poster. These fascinating little creatures migrate from North Africa and parts of Europe to the UK each summer. Adult moths make a loud squeaking sound which, prior to the creation of modern bee hives, the moths used to calm angry bees when raiding hives to steal honey!

The caterpillars are currently munching their way through privet leaves and when they are about five inches long they will bury themselves in soil to pupate. After around three months the adult moths will emerge and Paul is hoping to breed them. We’ll keep you updated on their progress…  

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