Currently viewing the category: "Black Witch"

Here’s a bug for you… What is it?
Any insight would be appreciated! It was rather large, saw it in Big Bend National Park. I have other pictures for comparison, but this pic along with the walking stick in the same frame should give you a good idea of how large this insect is:

Hi Stingrey,
This is a Black Witch Moth, a tropical species that flies north in summer and fall, often reaching as far as Canada. Most of the numerous images of Black Witch Moths we have received over the years have been taken on walls after the moths were attracted to lights. Your image is the first in a natural environment.

Ed. Note: (09/30/2006) Though this letter came to us last year, the abundance of identification requests in late September and October influenced our decision to make the Black Witch Moth the Bug of the Month. It also has a great common name for the Halloween season.
(10/06/2005) What kind of moth is this?
Joe Greco

Hi there Joe,
The Black Witch Moth is very common in the tropical regions of Central and South America, and can also be found occasionally in Florida and the Gulf states. Occasionally specimens, usually females, are found in the North. In the Fall, they are even reported from as far north as Canada. When they fly around lights at night, they look like enormous bats. When we stayed in a country home in Puebla Mexico, they commonly flew into the house and rested on the walls near the ceiling until nightfall, when they would fly away. Thank you for a great photo.

(10/15/2005) Black Witch
Hola Bugman,
You seem to be relying on some outdated sources of information about the black witch moth, namely: Covell, C.V. 1984. Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. Powell, J.A. & C.L. Hogue. 1979. California Insects. University of California Press, Berkeley. 388 pp. Current taxonomy is: Ascalapha odorata. Both males and females (in equal proportions) migrate north starting at the end of May, not late summer. They regularly (probably annually) reach Canada, as I know of some 30 Canadian records. They are actually most common across the Southwest, not in the Gulf coast states of LA, MISS, Alabama… They do breed in the US as larvae have been found in Southmost Texas and due to their abundance in Florida, they much breed there as well. More BWM info here: North American Black Witch Records
Natural History of the Black Witch
Black Witch – Storm Information
Early Northern 2005 BWM Records
Hope this helps…
Texas Entomology

Unidentified Moth
I took a picture of this huge moth (almost 6″ across) in the Mayan Riviera in Mexico in December 2005. It was sitting on the top doorframe of our hotel room. Can you identify it ??
Ron Boss

Hi Ron,
The Black Witch is a very common Noctuid Moth in Mexico. It is frequently found in the southern state, usually in the fall, and has been known to migrate as far north as Canada.

Two Moths from the Yucatan Penninsula
I just wanted to know if you could identify these two moths that my family found and photographed while we were on vacation in Cancun. When I saw the first one, I thought it was a big hole in the wall! My mom found the second one under a depressed light in another wall. Thanks a lot.
Bug Lover Back from Mexico

Hi Bug Lover,
Mexican insects are pretty amazing. Your first moth is a Black Witch, Erebus odora. These large moths are very strong fliers, and though they do not breed in the U.S., they sometimes stray as far north as Canada. The other moth is a Sphinx Moth, but we are not sure of the species.