The wonders of lepidopteran roadkillS

When it comes to bugs on your grille, it’s hard to top a European Peacock butterfly (Inachis io) hit by a 1927 Bugatti. Photographed in Budapest by our ex-intern Máté Petrány, it is a study in roadkill perfection, the insect’s wings spread as if mounted by a meticulous entomologist, mostly intact but displaying just the right amount of damage.

Possibly the only way to top this would be to hit a Death’s-head Hawkmoth (Acherontia atropos) with a Buick GNX, not an easy task when you consider that moths are nocturnal and can probably avoid cars.

In fact, A. atropos is quite a character. Not only does it have a scientific name with a rather heavy Greek mythological vibe—named after both Acheron, the river which dead souls were ferried across by Charon on their way to the underworld, and one of the Moirae, Atropos, the goddess responsible for severing the thread of life—it emits a completely freakish chirp when touched on the thorax.

Photo by Máté Petrány