Ian and Sharon Williams found a number of the caterpillars ‘destroying’ some shrubs in their garden and shared snaps on social media to try and find out what they were.
Ian was quickly flooded with responses from people who were able to shed some light on exactly what the beasts were.
In the Silence of the Lambs, the moths – which often display a skull-shape on their backs – are used by serial killer Buffalo Bill as his calling card.
Ian told the BBC it was his wife who first spotted the caterpillars in their garden in Brynmenyn, Bridgend. He said: "I was in the kitchen and I heard a scream, my wife was actually cutting this bush in our garden back.
"That's when we discovered it, it was lucky it didn't get cut in half.”
Ian admitted that he didn’t know very much about moths and caterpillars but now jokes he’s a bit of an expert after a large response to his photos on social media.
In a post on Twitter, he asked: “What’s this bad boy mate? Got 3 of them destroying a bush in our garden in leafy Brynmenyn, Bridgend.”
He joked: "I've been party to all these replies now, so I am now the leading authority on this moth.”
And it actually turns out that it’s a bit of a rare find, with Dr Sarah Christofides, from Cardiff University's school of biosciences, telling the BBC she would be ‘really, really excited’ and ‘really pleased’ if she happened to find one in her own garden.
She explained: "Generally hawkmoths are very big moths – and they're not as common as perhaps some of the smaller ones you get.
"If you look at an adult death's-head hawkmoth you'd see what an incredibly beautiful animal it is."
So beautiful, in fact, that one of them even made its way onto the poster for the 1991 Oscar-winning movie.
Dr Arthur Morris, a research associate at Cardiff University, mirrored Dr Christofides sentiments, telling the outlet that it was ‘really unusual’ to see one in the UK and that he himself had never managed it.
Ian said he’s since been keeping a close eye on his shrubbery to see if any more of the caterpillars are hanging around, but as yet hasn’t seen any.
Featured Image Credit: Ian Williams/Orion Pictures
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