Subject: Large Moth
Location: Worland, WY
August 13, 2016 2:57 pm
Hello, I saw this on the wall of my house today. I live in northern WY. Any idea what it is? It appeared to be 4-5 inches across.
This is a male Black Witch, Ascalapha odorata, and according to the Texas Entomology site, it is: “is the largest moth, if not the largest insect, north of Mexico. ” Though it has that distinction, it is a migrant species, though perhaps with global warming, it may have naturalized in areas close to the Mexican border. The Black Witch is a neotropical species, but it has been documented as far north as Canada since as far back as the nineteenth century, though no one really knows exactly what causes this southern species to fly north each year. Your individual looks quite tattered, which is to be expected after making a 1000 plus mile flight. Each year in Mexico, at the start of monsoon season, Black Witch moths head north. Interestingly, we received a report last year of a Cheyenne, Wyoming sighting of a Black Witch.