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Black Witch Moth (Ascalapha odorata)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Black Witch Moth.


 Updated: 2/8/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Black Witch Moth  
Picture of Black-Witch-Moth
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The Black Witch is a huge moth that prefers a tropical habitat, but can be found in the some of the strangest locations through no fault of its own.





A member of the Lesser Underwing Moth family, the Black Witch makes grows to an enormous size. The moth is almost as large as a human hand with its wings spread. The wings are brown or dark brown. It has a large eyespot near the front edge of each forewing. A wavy, dark brown line meanders close to the bottoms of both forewings and hindwings. An iridescent purple line shaped like the letter 'm' stamps bottom of each hindwing and part of the forewing.

The normal climate of the Black Witch is tropical, which makes sightings in the U.S. and Canada both rare and a treat. Stormy weather in the more tropical parts of Mexico and southern tip of Florida can literally blow these moths north of their normal range. In the past, hurricanes in the Gulf have created a 'fallout' of Black Witch Moths. A large population of moths find themselves cloistered in the hurricane's eye until it dissipates, which may happen over states the moth would never live in. Warmer summer weather further north can also allow this moth to travel to regions that are unfamiliar with it.

Like many moths, Black Witch Moths are attracted to lights at night and are mostly nocturnal. Their coloration suggests that nightfall offers good camouflage from would-be predators like birds. Their larvae (caterpillars) feed on acacia shrubs and cassias, plants found in Mexico and other tropical regions. Caterpillars are gray with ivory, with brown markings and black stripes on the back and sides of their tubular bodies
Basic Information
Common Name: Black Witch Moth
Scientific Name: Ascalapha odorata
Category: Butterfly or Moth


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 100mm to 180mm (3.90in to 7.02in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: black, brown, gray, blue, yellow, white, green, violet
Additional Descriptors: dark, huge, eyespot, rare, flying, large, wavy, enormous, furry, hairy




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Noctuidae
Genus: Ascalapha
Species: odorata


Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American butterfly and moth insect
1
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
3
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
5
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
6
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Black Witch Moth may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


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