The common name has something to do with the skull like marking on the pronotum. This marking varies between species and is more convincing in some species over others. The species Acherontia atropos is the fastest moth in the world, reaching speeds of nearly 50 kilometers per hour. Death's-Head Hawkmoths have an unusual habit of lodging themselves in bee hives and gorging themselves on honey. They achieve this by mimicking worker bee pheromones. The markings on their back are also suspected to be mimicking a bee's face. They also make a squeaking noise which is believed to mimic the noise worker bees make:
The caterpillar also looks pretty cool:
The genus is found across Europe and Asia.
There are three species in the genus.