Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Deaths Head Moth

Death's Head Moth (Acherontia atropos, Linn.) is the largest of the British butterflies or moths (Lepidoptera), and has an expanse of wing of about six inches. The general colour is dark brown, but the hinder pair are ornamented with black bands. There is a white patch on the thorax, with a couple of dark dots upon it: from the supposed resemblance of this to a skull the moth has derived its popular name and the legends associated with it. Popular interest in the moth is also aroused by the fact that it is one of the few members of that group that can make a noise: when frightened it can emit a distinct squeak. It is more common than usually supposed, but, as it only flies at night, escapes observation. Potatoes and the deadly nightshade (Atropa, whence its specific name) are its favourite food, and its larva is frequently found in the Kent potato-fields.