What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

big butterfly from buenos aires
Location: buenos aires, argentina
January 22, 2012 3:04 pm
Hello wtb, today when I woke up and went to the bathroom to wash my face I found this big butterfly grabed to the hand towel. It gave me a good scare. It has not moved the entire day, I wonder if it’s alive. I wish I had a better camera so I could take macro shots of it but the ones I’m attaching I think are fine.
Regards from argentina.
Signature: gabxolotl

Black Witch

Dear gabxolotl,
This is a moth known as a Black Witch,
Ascalapha odorata, not a butterfly as you speculated.  There are many superstitions surrounding this wide ranging species as well as many colorful common names, many of which are indicated on BugGuide.  Your submission is the southernmost report we have ever received for a Black Witch and BugGuide does not even list South America as part of the range.  Wikipedia, however, does include the common name  “Pirpinto de la Yeta” from Argentina.  The Texas Entomology page has a nice report on the natural and cultural history of the Black Witch and the same name is listed for Argentina.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Argentina
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2 Responses to Black Witch from Argentina

  1. Dave says:

    The caterpillars of this wide-ranging species are edible, and enjoyed in some parts of Mexico.

  2. Diego says:

    I have seen similar specimens in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and some near towns as well. I wouldnt say they are a common sighting, but through the last 10 years I have seen at least 5.

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