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Acherontia atropos

  • Product Code: Z24671
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Origin : Bulgaria

death's head moth, skull drawing on the torax, one wing lenght cm 5-5.5.
Family: Sphingidae (sphinxes)

The butterfly, exceptional and unlike any other, is already prepared with outstretched wings (wing span cm 7.5-9), and in the cost  is included the preparation work, which usually we do not perform, being by the customer. The pin is not included for packaging problems, but the thorax is already drilled to accommodate it.

The sphinx's head is a dead moth in the family Sphingidae and is the best known of the three species of the genus Acherontia. The word "sphinx" refers to the fact that the caterpillar of this moth is able to lift the front of the body taking a position that vaguely resembles that of Greek or Egyptian sphinx. The expression "dead head" is due to a sudden very characteristic of this moth, which distinguishes it from all those with whom he shares the areal: on the dorsal side of the chest stands a whitish spot, with two dots blacks, reminiscent shape of a skull. As for the scientific nomenclature, the term "Acherontia" refers all'Acheronte (in greek Ἂχέρων) one of the infernal rivers which according to Greek mythology must cross to enter the realm of the dead. The specific epithet "atropos" instead comes from the name of one of the three Greek moire, Atropos (in greek Ἄτροπος), to which was assigned the task to cut the thread of life.
 The sphinx dead head is the only butterfly in the world capable of producing a cry with the pharynx. In fact, both the caterpillar and adult, when they are disturbed or threatened emit a sound loud enough, like a squeak or the squeal of a mouse. This behavior is easy to observe in males who have just reached a light source and that are still in the state of arousal characteristic of these moments. The sound emitted is audible up to forty meters and is produced violently expelling air that brings a small vibration plate located at the mouth of the pharynx. This behavior, combined with that of raising the wings, to move quickly abdomen brightly colored and foul-smelling secretion of a substance through the glandular hairs of the abdomen, has the function to deter attack by predators.
 The stain skull-shaped chest made sure that this moth earned a negative reputation, inspiring associations with the supernatural world and the evil. According to many superstitions, she is the messenger of war and pestilence, the bearer of bad luck, causes serious misfortune and death in homes where flies. The same moth is the protagonist of a story by Edgar Allan Poe, The Sphinx (The Sphinx) of 1846 and is also mentioned in the novels of Bram Stoker's Dracula. It was later made famous by the book by Thomas Harris The Silence of the Lambs and even more from the movie of the same name released in 1991 and directed by Jonathan Demme.

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