Black Witch Moth: Male vs Female Differences & Identification

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Black Witch flies to Ohio

Is this a common moth?
Could you please tell me the name of this moth?
Thank you!
North Canton, Ohio

Hi Rosealee,
The Black Witch, which we had prominently displayed on our homepage the day you wrote, is a large common Noctuid or Owlet moth from the American tropics. It is quite common in Mexico. In the late summer, for some unknown reason, they often fly north despite not being able to reproduce. They are commonly reported from Arizona and California, and can stray as far north as Canada.

Letter 2 – Black Witch Caterpillar from Costa Rica

Ascalapha odorata
Location: Costa-Rica
June 25, 2011 6:27 pm
Ascalapha odorata
Signature: Eduardo Lucof

Black Witch Caterpillar

Hola Eduardo,
We are going to trust that this is really a Black Witch Caterpillar since we have never seen one.  Thanks for sending the photo.

Letter 3 – Black Witch and Giant Vinegaroon

Hello Bugman!
I wish I had found your site before now as we have been on many a long internet search trying to identify some of the strange bugs that grow here in the Texas South Plains ( Lubbock to be exact)! J Anyways, I have a couple of pictures for you that I * think * are of a giant vinegaroon (notice truck bumper & shoe in pic for appox. Size) and a Black Witch Moth??

Hi Lois,
You are absolutely correct on both counts. Yours is the best Black Witch photo we have gotten, and your Vinegaroon, also called a Grampus, is great as well. Thank you so much for sending them in.

Thank you for your quick reply, excellent site, and for taking the time to answer all of these buggy questions :). Now if you could just tell me how to keep the tarantulas out of my house, I’d have to send you some candy! I attached one other Black Witch photo that shows a little more detail. Thanks again,

Hi again Lois,
Sorry, we have no advice on the tarantulas. They wander in search of a mate, and must think your home is a likely location.

Letter 4 – Black Witch Caterpillar from Costa Rica

Ascalapha odorata
Location: Costa-Rica
June 26, 2011 4:47 pm
Ascalapha odorata
Signature: Eduardo Lucof

Black Witch Caterpillar

Dear Eduardo,
Thank you for supplying us with another image of a Black Witch Caterpillar.  We are going to assume that the ID is correct.  We wish your email contained a bit more information.

Letter 5 – Black Witch and Lizard from Hawaii

Subject: Hawaiian Moth
Location: Hawaii
May 31, 2013 7:02 pm
Hello, Mr. Bugman.
My friend saw this moth on the wall on her home in Hawaii. She asked me what it was. I’m from Arizona, so it’s nothing I’ve ever seen before. She said it must have been 5-6 inches across.
Thank you very much!
Signature: Lucille

Black Witch and Lizard
Black Witch and Lizard

Dear Lucille,
Tell your friend this is a Black Witch, and a good source for information is the Texas Entomology page called The Black Witch Moth:  Its Natural & Cultural History
Your submission will go live in early June during our holiday away from the office.

Letter 6 – Black Witch: Early for Halloween

Subject: large brown moth
Location: Texas Gulf Coast
October 19, 2013 9:10 am
This moth appeared on the wall of my sun porch 2 days ago and hasn’t moved. I live in Southeast Texas on the gulf Coast. Can you please tell me what it is? Also, what does it eat and is it drawn to light like other moths?
Thank you for your help!
Signature: Brenda from Texas

Black Witch
Black Witch

Hi Brenda,
Despite being a male, this Black Witch would not be called a warlock, and it is just a bit too early for Halloween.  Black Witch moths often fly up from Mexico at the start of the rainy season there, and that roughly coincides with our autumn months.

1 thought on “Black Witch Moth: Male vs Female Differences & Identification”

  1. Just buzzed by 7 in black witch landed next to me eye level. I live in Houston Heights. He landed on brick that is 3 inches wide running courses so his wingspan had to exceed 6 inches. Looked like 7 to it overlapped.about an inch. Black lacey wings and very dark eyes seemed almost furry for some.reason. stayed next to me long time til I walked away. Thought at first was a bat when it flew around my head and then landed. Weird. Biggest moth I’ve ever seen! And bold…


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