Monday, July 4, 2011

Black Witch Moth

Black Witch Moth, originally uploaded by AmyEmilia.
As we were rinsing the sand from our evening beach walk, this moth flew over from the neighbor's house.  We have seen them before but they are not common here.  The Black Witch Moth  (Ascalapha odorata) is, according to Texas Entomology, perhaps the largest insect north of Mexico.  This particular speciment is a male, because it does not have a white band running across the wings. 

The Black Witch has a somewhat grim set of cultural traditions around it. Apparently it is a harbinger of death in most of Central America.  If it enters the house, and there is a sick person in the house, the person will die.  Fortunately for us, this guy only made it to the patio.  A brighter prospect is the South Texas tradition that says if the moth stays above your door, you will win the lottery!  So I guess we should go buy a ticket. 

Here is a second picture, so you can get some idea of his size.  I'd guess this guy is about 6 inches across.   

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