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I have been unable to identify this huge larva seen recently in a meadow in southern UK. I would call it a 'caterpillar' but the online ID pages don't include it. Other creatures have a larval stage too: many kinds of flies and so on.

It is about 7 centimeters long, and has a spike or sting curved upwards and forwards from its rear end on the left (obscured by grass, but possibly pointing backwards in this photo). It locomotes in typical caterpillar fashion, by undulating its body.

Can anyone identify it?

enter image description here

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Someone has identified the image for me: the larval stage of the Poplar Hawk Moth.

From its size they supposed it was close to pupating.

It is a large moth: 6-9 cm wing span.

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  • I concur, though couldn't rule out other hawk moths especially eyed hawk moth. They're in my book, Insects of Britain and Western Europe by Michael Chinery - it's pretty good
    – Chris H
    Oct 14, 2023 at 7:17

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