Currently viewing the category: "Black Witch"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large dark moth
Location: Deerhorn Valley Jamul Ca
July 28, 2017 7:36 pm
Look at this beast! We live in eastern Dan Diego County in oak woodland/chaparral. This beauty was found by my daughter right outside our door. If it were on an oak tree I’m sure I would have missed it entirely.
Signature: Nira

Male Black Witch Moth

Dear Nira,
This impressive creature is a male Black Witch Moth, a species found in Mexico.  For some unexplained reason, monsoon season in Mexico causes large numbers of Black Witch Moths to fly north, and individuals have bee reported as far north as Canada.

Thank you so very much! I have now looked it up and see that folk lore says I will win the lottery or die. Hmmm. I choose the lottery. I will let you know if fortune or disaster comes my way 😉 Either way it is fun to know what it is. Thank you again!
Nira

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black witch?
Location: Casper, Wyoming
July 14, 2017 12:13 am
Found this next to my front door, it looks s a black witch moth?
Signature: Thank you, Stacy

Male Black Witch

Dear Stacy,
This is indeed a male Black Witch moth.  This is a neotropical species that breeds as far north as Mexico, but for some inexplicable reason, Black Witch Moths have been reported as far back as the 19th Century to fly north as far as Canada.  The damaged upper left wing causes us to fantasize that your individual might be this very Black Witch, reported from Denver on June 27, that just reached Wyoming.

That’s so exciting to be able to track it! Thank you for your help!
Thanks,
Stacy
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Was this a black witch?
Location: Southeast Denver, Colorado
June 27, 2017 8:12 pm
Dear Bugman,
I saw this fly across my backyard today in broad daylight (I thought it was a bird flying a little bit wacky), and then it somehow found its way into my garage. Its wingspan was easily over 6 inches and it was very dark, almost black. I think it was a male black witch because I could see eye-like patterns at the top of its wings and swirly patterns at the base of its wings. It finally flew out of the garage a couple hours later, thank goodness- I didn’t want this majestic creature to meet its end in a dumb garage!
What do you think?
Signature: Cindy F

Male Black Witch

Hi Cindy,
You are correct that this is a male Black Witch.  They often seek out protected areas in which to rest, and your garage worked nicely.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black Witch Moth?
Location: Los Angeles, California
November 18, 2016 8:07 pm
I took a picture of what I think may be a Black Witch moth. It was resting on my patio screen door this afternoon. I have never seen a moth that large. Its wing span was about 4 inches tip to tip.
Signature: Pat K.

Black Witch

Black Witch

Dear Pat,
Congratulations on your Black Witch sighting, though we believe you may have underestimated its size. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Black Witch Moth
Location: Studio City, CA
August 25, 2016 12:25 am
Dear Bugman,
I found, I believe, a Black Witch Moth female on the wall at the entrance of my parking deck. I am concerned about the sorry state of its beautiful wings. It has been there for a while. It was dusk when I found it.
Signature: Jessica Chortkoff

Female Black Witch

Female Black Witch

Dear Jessica,
You are correct that this is a female Black Witch moth.  The Black Witch is a long-lived species that is known to migrate thousands of miles.  Their wings can often get quite tattered, but that does not seem to negatively impact their ability to fly.

Oh that is good. I did some research and found out that if a butterfly injures its wing in such a way that they are no longer symmetrical it will starve because it can’t really fly. The only way to save it would be to put it in the fridge for ten minutes, so it goes into a trancelike state, then hold it and clip the wings so they are the exact same shape, or if you have extra butterfly wings on hand, you can try to glue part of the doner insects’  wing on to make it symmetrical. I am not sure I am a butterfly surgeon. Another option would be to build a butterfly garden on my balcony. It has probably flown away by now though.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

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.
Signature: needarealname

Male Black Witch

Male Black Witch

Dear needarealname,
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.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination