View Full Version : Hawkmoth larva

Painted Jezebel
08-Mar-2011, 10:06 AM
A very disappointing day in the hills yesterday. Left home under a cloudless sky, and arrived in a thunderstorm! The rain lasted most of the morning.

Nevertheless, I found this impressive Hawkmoth larva feeding on Mile-a-Minute. I THINK it is Acherontia lachesis, whose larvae are polyphagous. Can anyone give me the scientific name for the plant so I can check if this is a known foodplant for the species.

08-Mar-2011, 12:33 PM
Mile-a-minute is called Mikania micrantha, but I think there is more than one species introduced. It used to be confused with another similar one called M. cordata.

Painted Jezebel
08-Mar-2011, 08:43 PM

09-Mar-2011, 07:02 PM
Don't know which of the 2 Asiatic species of Acherontia this is but is likely to be the commoner lachesis.

Amazing! If it will feed on Mile-a-minute, why is it not common. Long ago when the surroundings were more rural, the Death's Head sometimes flies into the house.
Nowaday even if they are common, they would have been unable to enter modern houses. Moreover, they would have been dazzled by the lghts of thousands of cars and street lightings.

They are, I believe the only moths capable of making a true squeaking sound. They do this when captured, but perhaps it is used for some form of communication. How the sound is achieved I don't know.
Their short powerful probosces are said to be used to pierce and suck fruits.

This is certainly one of the moth that leaves a powerful impression.

TL Seow:cheers:
PS, Just checked the net that the sound is made by expelling air from the pharynx and that they raid beehives for honey.

Painted Jezebel
11-Mar-2011, 08:27 AM
Amazing! If it will feed on Mile-a-minute, why is it not common.

I had wondering about this too!

15-Mar-2011, 01:57 PM
Regarding the squeek there is some info on the mecahnics and the theory (purported here and there) that it is to help the moth rob beehives:


The info is about the African (and marginally + migrating) European A. atropos but nevertheless it is probably valid for all 3 species in the genus...

Painted Jezebel
08-Apr-2011, 12:02 PM
After a pupal period of 16 days, the moth eclosed last night. It is, as expected, A. lachesis.

It is extremely 'vocal'. This is the first time I have heard the famous squeak, and to me, it sounds like the squeak made when first wearing a new pair of leather shoes. I could not see the full mechanism of how it makes this sound, but I noticed that it raises and vibrates its abdomen each time, but this is probably only a nerve reaction.