Polyphemus Moth ?
May 28, 2010
Many, many thanks for the prompt reply and posting of my “Beautiful Green Bug” (Slant-winged Katydid). Your website is fantastic and your love of all our “critters” is evident. It is refreshing to have the privilege of communicating with individuals, such as yourselves. I’m going to send a donation for your site, next week, when my retirement check comes in. I’m sending you two more pictures of a moth. Pictures were taken on my shed door the end of April 2010, during the evening. This guy was beautiful but did not move much. He was quite hign on the door which necessitated me to use the zoom on my camera. One picture is with flash and one without — take your pick. After the pictures, I left him alone and later on in the evening he departe d. I believe him to be a Polyphemus silk moth of the Saturniidae family — please correct me if I’m wrong. Again, I’m thrilled to have found your site and humbled by your obvious love of nature and efforts to preserve “Her.” Many, many thanks.
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Black Witch

Hi Again Curt,
Thanks so much for your kind words, and you are under no obligation to contribute a donation, especially if you are on a fixed income.  Donations are no guarantee that we will respond to questions.  Mostly it is a matter of luck which letters we answer and post, but we do try to find unusual creatures, wonderful photos, or interesting letters in an effort to keep What’s That Bug? vital.  This is a Black Witch, Ascalapha odorata, a tropical and subtropical species that is common in Mexico.  The Black Witch is a very powerful flier, and there are documentations going back 100 years of sightings as far north as Canada.  In recent years, perhaps due to global warming, or perhaps due to the cultivation of its food plant the acacia, the Black Witch has begun to breed in southern states.  Your specimen is a female because of the presence of the pale wing bands.  Your sighting came at an unusual time.  According to BugGuide:  “The northward migration out of Mexico is triggered by Mexico’s rainy season which typically starts in early June and lasts through October. Most US records are from June-August, with a considerable number of records from September-Novermber. Very few US records from December-May.

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