Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Strange Insect

A few days ago I found this large insect sitting totally motionless for a long time on a pavement here on La Gomera (see photos below). Lots of people took photos but nobody seemed to know what it was. There was an easterly current of air at the time, so it probably came from Africa and had to rest after the long journey. If anyone knows what it is, please leave a comment to enlighten me. 
UPDATE: Thanks to reader Kim Houmoller (see 2 comments below) the mystery appears to be solved: It is a rare moth, Acherontia atropos
..and having looked it up on Wikipedia, I must agree with Kim Houmoller, because it can be identified by the vaguely skull-shaped pattern on its back,see:
It is even featured in a music video by Massive Attack.
Seen on a pavement on La Gomera


Kim Houmøller said...

Acherontia atropos large insect seldom

Kim Houmøller said...

Moth (Acherontia atropos) is the largest butterfly in Denmark with a wingspan of 11.5 cm. Skull is an evening swarm, which got its name after its drawing on the back.
[citation needed]

Anonymous said...

Talking of strange creatures, what are the creatures that "sing" at night in the orchards and banana plantations. Assume they are toads or frogs because they would have to be very big crickets to make so much noise. All adds to the charm of the place. Before some wag answers Skazz or Poisoned Folk, they are brilliant but not what I am asking about.

Willie said...

You are right - they are frogs and toads. Small, but VERY loud. They 'sing' in and near the irrigation ponds and channels which attract the insects they catch at night.