California – Moth with 6-8" wingspan and headlight??
While looking for raccoons that had been eating our peaches, we saw what looked like a single eye looking back at the flashlight. As we moved in closer we thought it was some kind of fruit bat. But the wings were too straight, and it had too many legs (or appeared to – we really didn’t get that close!) My husband said it looked like some kind of moth, the boys and I thought he had to be wrong – no moth was that big – but after looking at the picture and your website, I thought he might be right. It looked like a single eye with the flash light, but the pictures looks more like some kind of reflector on the front and the eyes on the side. It’s wingspan was atleast 6”, looked more like 7 or 8”. (The peach it’s on is about 2.5”). Any ideas on what this thing is? Thanks

Hi Marti,
Your moth is a neotropical species, the Black Witch. It is now generally believed that the Black Witch does breed in Southern California, Florida and probably Southern Texas. Black Witch sightings occur from as far north as Canada. This large Noctuid moth is capable of flying great distances. The Black Witch in your photo is being opportunistic, by taking advantage of the raccoon bite in the peach which has revealed the succulent pulp. Moths cannot bite. They each have a strawlike mouthpart known as a proboscis. The headlight is a reflection of the flashlight in the eye.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *