Very large moths arriving in the UK

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Convolvulus Hawkmoth (Agrius convolvuli) found on a car in Glasgow, Scotland, photo Gordon Barrie
Convolvulus Hawkmoth (Agrius convolvuli) found on a car in Glasgow, Scotland, photo Gordon Barrie

Recent fine weather has seen the arrival in the British Isles of some large migratory moths from the continent.

These have included several Convolvulus Hawkmoths. This species is one of the strongest flying moths and recorded as far north as the Shetland Isles.

The one featured was found by Gordon Barrie on his car in Glasgow, Scotland. Its not that uncommon to find these moths during the day settled in the most unexpected of places. However, most probably go unseen as their beautifully cryptic wings make them easily overlooked when resting in a more appropriate setting such as on the bark of a tree .

Other Hawkmoths and their caterpillars are featured in the species pages, moth galleries and Hawkmoth caterpillar galleries.

Brown form of Death's Head Hawkmoth caterpillar (Acherontia atropos) found on gravel in Somerset garden, Uk, photo Tony Hall
Brown form of Death’s Head Hawkmoth caterpillar (Acherontia atropos) found on gravel in Somerset garden, Uk, photo Tony Hall

The Death’s Head Hawkmoth is another huge migrant moth recorded annually in small numbers in the UK. Despite their size often the only sign that some have paid a visit are their huge caterpillars. When fully grown the caterpillars are most frequently noticed as they leave the foodplant and wander in search of a place to pupate in the soil.

The one featured was found by Tony Hall on gravel in his Somerset garden. In his garden Tony has two large pots containing jasmine, so having read the account of Death’s Head caterpillars found feeding on jasmine in an Hertfordshire garden, he placed the caterpillar in one of the pots where it instantly buried into the soil, presumably to pupate.