> A bit of research leads me to conclude that this was a convolvulus
> hawk moth Agrius convolvuli) rather than a deaths head hawk moth.
I'm not sure even of that. I take it, from what I've found, that Ag con can emulate tree bark, as does the fellow in your fine photographs, but as far as I can remember without the photo, there were also some structural differences. How sure do you feel?
I spent some time this morning medium skimming through the varied finder pages at [ukmoths.org.uk
], and didn't find one convincing match. For a novice like me it's quite an exhausting process. I wish there were a systematic key one could work though. I did note a couple of other genera which also showed some markings in the same position as the death head. But without the expert knowledge of variations within species, let alone that of being able to instantly recognise even its genus. I feel at a bit of a loss. When our piccies are up again - unless you've already got the convincing evidence - might it be worth trying a moth recognition forum such as [www.facebook.com