Big moth and black widow
August 14, 2009
My son and I had a Discovery Channel moment leaving the post office yesterday. This moth was alive, and the spider was working very hard to wrap it up. It would climb up, drop a line down, throw a couple of legs over the moth, go over to the other wing, and repeat. The moth was fluttering but losing the battle.
We couldn’t believe this was right in the middle of the sidewalk (yes, there was a brick column in the *middle* of the sidewalk) at the entrance to a busy post office in the middle of the day!
I was going to take video but could only manage a quick cell phone photo before a well-meaning man came up and stomped the spider.
I think this is a real black widow, but I’m having trouble positively identifying the moth. We see them all the time here in Georgia – as the summer progresses, the moths get bigger.
Can you help?
Patty and Gabriel
Powder Springs, Georgia
Hi Patty and Gabriel,
We are sorry to hear that this shy and retiring, though poisonous Black Widow was stomped before getting to enjoy its gargantuan meal. The moth is a very bedraggled Regal Moth or Royal Walnut Moth. Its appearance indicates that it was already at the end of its short adult life. Regal Moths do not feed as adults, and only fly long enough to mate and lay eggs, and possibly, like this specimen, provide a nutritious meal to a lucky predator.