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  • Black Witch Moth - (Ascalapha odorata)

    Black Witch Moth - (Ascalapha odorata)

    The Black Witch is a huge moth that prefers a tropical habitat, but sometimes finds itself in the strangest places.

    Staff Writer (1/24/2017): A member of the Lesser Underwing Moth family, the Black Witch makes up for a lack of flashy wing color by growing to an enormous size. 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 blow these moths north of their normal range. It is possible for a hurricane in the Gulf to create a 'fallout' consisting of a large population of moths, cloistering them in the hurricane's eye until it dissolves. Warmer summer weather further north can also allow this moth to travel to regions usually unfamiliar with its presence.

    Like many moths, they are attracted to lights at night and are mostly nocturnal. Their coloration means nightfall offers camouflage from would-be predators like birds.

    The larvae (caterpillars) feed on acacia shrubs and cassias. They are gray with ivory and grown markings with black stripes on their back and sides.

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    Details of the:
    Black Witch Moth

    Category: Butterfly or Moth
    Common name: Black Witch Moth
    Scientific Name: Ascalapha odorata

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

    Size (Adult, Length): 100mm to 180mm (3.94in to 7.09in)

    Identifying Colors: black, brown, gray, blue, yellow, white, green, violet

    Additional Descriptors: dark, huge, eyespot, rare, flying, large, wavy, enormous, furry, hairy

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Florida, Texas, Mexico occasionally straying north

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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