Giant Moth in Trinidad
Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 12:46 AM
Hi, I found this moth in the rainforest on the north coast in Trinidad. I have not been able to find anything that even resembles it. Can you help me?
Grande Riviere, Trinidad, W.I.

White Witch

White Witch

Dear Malin,
We are quite excited to post your photograph.  We have received countless identification requests over the years for a related moth known as the Black Witch.  Your moth is a White Witch, Thysania agrippina, a species with the distinction of having not only the largest wingspan of any moth on the planet, but of any insect living on the planet.  Specimens have been reported that reach 12 inches in wingspan.
Fossil dragonflies though are larger and Atlas Moths have a greater surface wing area, but the White Witch can be called the largest living insect if wingspan is the means by which size is determined. The Texas Entomology website has great information as well as numerous links on the White Witch.  The metamorphosis of the White Witch was incorrectly documented by the amazing 17th Century artist and naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian in her book “Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium” .

3 Responses to White Witch from Trinidad

  1. buggy4bugs says:

    I was always under the impression that the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing butterfly (O. Alexandrae) was the world’s largest insect based on wingspan. Am I correct?

  2. DanielRaventos says:

    Dear Bugman,

    Thysania agrippina (Cramer, 1776)

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