The Death’s-Head Hawkmoth is very large with markings resembling a skull, hence the name, and has long been associated throughout Europe with all manner of superstitions. It squeaks, which I find fascinating, but this unique ability has doubtless contributed to its ill-deserved reputation as an announcer of death, predicting everything from plague to war.
Eye-catching! The Hawkmoth caterpillar
The genus name is Acherontia, a reference to the river Acheron in the Epirus area of Greece. The Acheron flows from the mountains down into the Ionian Sea, and was prominent in Greek mythology as one of the five rivers of death in the Underworld.
Perhaps Persephone wandered its banks, weeping into the dark waters?
I’ve seen the Hawkmoth caterpillars on the property fairly frequently, feeding their way voraciously along, but have never been able to capture a good picture of the moth. Unless one happens to fly into the light, they’re not easy to spot at night but I’ve heard the strange squeak they make; one can understand why primitive peoples were so preoccupied with them.
No pesticides or poisons of any sort have ever been used on this land so we are fortunate to have quite a variety of insects which creep and crawl, flutter and fly about on their foraging missions, ducking and diving from their natural predators. Yes, of course the garden suffers to some extent, but it’s amazing how the birds by day and the bats by night sort things out somewhat.
I wasn’t ready for this close-up!
The colourful Death’s-Head Hawkmoth caterpillars are so striking that the lowly worms inching and squinching their munching way along seem insignificant by comparison.
Forget the cyclamen flowers, I need the leaves
Whether they creep or crawl, are large or small, worms and caterpillars are highly regarded by birds, so their lives are constantly under threat whatever their colouring.
Knitting needles, a few yards of yarn and a button or two – I give you GoogliBugs.
Watch out for birds!
Quite tasty, no?
Minor’s puzzled…where’d he go?
What is this stuff?
Nice ‘n’ fresh!
Trying to worm your way in?
Lots here to fatten me up!
These leaves aren’t up to much, don’t you think?
The food’s beautifully presented
Pink’s my favourite colour
With a lot of luck, these may become moths and butterflies!
Are we related?
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged bats, birds, Caterpillar, colour, crawling, creeping, Europe, garden, GoogliBug, Greek mythology, Ionian sea, kids, knitting, leaves, moths, Pelion, threat, Underworld, worms
This is Mythos, who was named after the award winning Greek beer, Mythos. A very popular brew, Mythos has a good head of foam topping its rich golden colour, so it’s easy to see how Mythos cat got his name, but feline Mythos also has a good head on his shoulders for he was sharp-witted enough to make his home here.
How do I open this?
Mythos has a long sad story of his own, which I will tell you in some future post, but today I’ll introduce what is likely to become the latest addition to the furry and hairy household.
For want of a better name at present, I give you Mythos Minor.
This feisty little chap showed up here just over a week ago, in the rain, out of the forest. Skin and bone, skin and bone but with the typical hugely swollen bellyfull of worms.
I don’t care that it’s the dog food – there’s so much! And I’m SO hungry
When Costa saw him a couple of days later he assured me that the intrepid infant had made his way to us from the furthest end of the village, a distance of at least a mile, across rocky headlands and through dense undergrowth. If Costa says so, then it is so.
Are you my mom?
Costa is familiar with all that happens here, and it would seem that Mythos Minor was one of several cats and kittens that scrounged around at a particular taverna, now closed since September. This is an annual saga.
Well-meaning holiday makers feed many of these feral cats, but when they leave the cats (and dogs) have to fend for themselves. Anyway, Costa is quite convinced of Minor’s origins. How on earth did this spunky soul make it to us, and how long did it take him? Fortunately, unlike Raki, he’s fully weaned.
What to do? Like all kittens, he’s very cute and curious.
All these big cats frighten me.
We’d love to keep him, even though he’s already caused much upset among the other cats, all of whom are rescues. We’ve brought him to the attention of Sharon at PAWS and our fingers are tightly crossed that he might be adopted, but…..
Smells good! This is catnip?
That’s Raki? He doesn’t like me!
Right now Junior has a warm bed in the shed with a heat lamp and all comforts.
He’s taken out several times a day to play about, climb trees and be socialised. He’s very friendly and affectionate and absolutely hates being put back into the shed after we’ve tired him out.
Please take care of me.
He’s a spunky soul, and does his best to stand his ground, but two of our big toms are determined to hurt him. Funny how they’ve forgotten the dreadful circumstances each was in when they were rescued!
Stepping boldly forth
He deems everything worthy of his attention, and zooms about as long as I am there to protect him.
So much to explore!
Mythos Major was advancing on Minor earlier this morning.
Raki is NOT happy
Anxious to avoid an upset, I tried to distract him with a cat treat which he is very partial to. Minor had no intention of being left out though, figuring that anything Major got he should get too.
Why should I be nice to the little brat?
Minor’s more than just courageous though; he’s one smart kitty and pretty soon decided not to push his luck,
Bribery – it worked!
… contenting himself with the leftovers.
Deferring to the big boy
Mt Pelion, home to many of the Greek myths, stares down upon me as I write as though it knows that Mythos Minor is unlikely to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Is that another little bit?
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged abandoned, beer, bellyful, big boy, camouflage, cat treats, catnip, cats, Centaurs, dogs, feral, Greek myths, holiday makers, leftovers, long trek, major, minor, Mt Pelion, Mythos, PAWS, Pelion Peninsula, skin and bone, worms