In European folklore, moths were regarded as witches. Not a big stretch. Witches are creatures of the night. Moths are creatures of the night. Witches can transform themselves…. Moths can transform themselves (metamorphosis)…. Witches fly. Moths fly. Witches have long noses. Moths have long noses.
All hail the Black Witch Moth. It might be a harbinger of death–or a sign that your future includes a lucky lottery ticket.
The intriguing Black Witch Moth, sometimes known as “the bat moth” resembles a bat in size and shape and with a a seven-inch wingspan is the largest moth in North America. They are common in these parts.
”People often come across it by causing it to fly up and around them,” said entomologist Mike Quinn, who has been tracking the migration of Ascalapha odorata for his Texasento.net website. “There’s a real startle factor.”
Reports of large, bat-like moths surprising people, frequently as they return home and are unlocking their front door, are not uncommon. We spooked several Black Witch Moths on a recent visit to the Santa Ana Wildlife refuge in the Rio Grande Valley, where they roosted under wooden benches and in the eaves of the breezeway near the entrance to the visitor center. When these big boys flush, they get your attention.
Females have a white, sometimes iridescent stripe across their wings with wings open. Males exhibit the plain, grey, brown mottled pattern commonly associated with moths, but with small dark eyespots on each forewing. Black Witch Moth caterpillars eat legumes, and favor acacia and mesquite. They are perfectly harmless, not an agricultural pest, and have no teeth or stingers.
The folklore surrounding Black Witch Moth, like the moth itself, is all over the map. In Mexico they are known as “mariposa de la muerte,” the butterfly of death. Some believe if a Black Witch Moth enters the home of someone who is ill, the person will die.
A variation on the folk wisdom suggests that the moth must travel to each corner of the house for death to occur. The Mayans called the Black Witch x-mahani-nail, which means “the habit of entering buildings.” This moth apparently has a long history of inviting itself inside.
Interestingly, in the Carribean, the Black Witch Moth is known as the “Money Moth” and if it visits your home, you are likely to come into cash. Here in South Texas, some believe if a Black Witch Moth roosts over your door, you will win the lottery.
Native to Central America and Mexico, the Black Witch starts migrating north in late spring. “The migration has been going on since June,” said Quinn. Because of our timely rains and climate change, several Black Witch Moth “records” have been set, meaning the moths have appeared further north earlier in the year than ever.
“This year may end up as the best year yet for Black Witch Moth (BWM) records,” wrote Quinn to the University of Houston Texas Butterfly Listserv, which includes more than 250 novice and professional lepidopterists. Quinn has recorded more than 500 records so far, including a significant record in Maine, in mid June.
The Black Witches’ seven-inch wingspan allows them to cover a lot of ground quickly. Entomologists note that Monarch butterflies start crossing the Rio Grande and take two months to reach Canada. Black Witches start migrating in June and have been recorded reaching Maine by June 9 and Manitoba, Canada, by June 28. That’s a rapid pace for a moth. Scientists wonder why the Black Witch Moth migrates so far north with no southbound return? Hmm.
In the movie Silence of the Lambs, serial killer Hannibal Lechter inserted cocoons of Black Witch Mothsinto the mouths of his victims as a weird gesture of transformation. The moth on the movie poster is a Death’s Head Hawk Moth, but the actual cocoon was that of a Black Witch.
If you’d like to have one roost above your door to inspire a winning lottery ticket, you might try setting out a cocktail of fermented fruit or stale beer. Black Witch Moths also like tree sap. Good luck!
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I think they are beautiful. Turn the pic of the moth above upside down and it looks like a fat toad!!
One day i was coming back from school and i see this huge black moth beside my door just stuck there on the wall and its been there since yesterday ;_;
I just seen a witch moth I don’t think i have ever see one… It’s hanging from a corner of my patio next to my patio door is.. Unique
I usually sit in my front porch ever night to smoke and I’ve seen 2 black moths in 1 week … the first one I told it off and it exited my yard as I told it the second one flew over my head and in front in my face, I jumped out the chair and it stayed still flying above the chair my face height it look peaceful but I couldn’t help but feel so scared as many say they symbolize death I screamed and wouldn’t leave they slowly flew to the tree… I’m still so scared and don’t know what to believe… I just pray 🙏 for my family to be safe and healthy
I had one about to fly into my living room via the sliding glass door. The cats were well aware but the moth stuck on my screen so I took a picture to find out what kind of creature it was. You are right, when I turn the picture upside down, there’s that fat little toad! I’m in Modesto, California…is this normal for them to be so far north?
I came across a Black Witch moth a few years ago flapping at the edge of the road (Blanco/Lockhill Selma). The moth was no longer able to fly (old age? wounded in some way?) but I carried it gently home and sat outside with it perched on my hand for a long, long while. An exquisitely beautiful being with a rare presence. I really felt blessed.
Lucky you. Funny how the folk wisdom ranges the gamut from death to luck. Thanks for writing, Mobi. –MM
This butterfly or moth is only about 1 inch but may not be the black witch but it looks like an ugly monster.
They roost at my house at least twice a year. I have a picture of one that was close to 9″ long. They are stunning!
I agree! Biggest moth in North America, ubiquitous in Texas this time of year.
I thought the Cecropia silk moth held the title of largest moth in North America. Now I’m confused.
North America’s largest, native moth known as the Cercopia Moth, which is a member of the Giant Silk Moth family.
Then I found this:
Moth groups include micro moths, leaf miners, clothes moths, plume moths, ermine moths, burnets, geometrids, silk moths, sphinx moths, tiger moths, wasp moths, noctuids, underwings and many others.
Maybe the black witch is the largest Noctuid moth and the Cecropia is the largest moth overall. Don’t know for sure. Experts, please clarify.
The Cecropia moth is the largest Native moth in North America…the Black Witch is native to Central/South America…Both are huge…lol
Your 9″ Black Witch Moth is a RECORD SIZE by about two inches. Do you have a picture of the moth? If you do could you send it to me at “firstname.lastname@example.org”
There’s also the possibility that it could have been the related White Witch from Mexico, which reaches at least 11″ and would be a first for North America. Did it look paler than the usual Black Witch?
Send me the picture if you have it!
We just found a black witch moth on our back porch in the corner. We are in Michigan. We didn’t know what it was until I took a picture of it and research it through Google. Never heard of them .
In 1967 a friend Rolf Patterson found a white witch resting on the side of a pecan tree in Seguin, TX.
It was enormous, and a little bit tattered, but over 10 inches across wingtips. The overall color was ashy grey to white with irregular black markings on the upper side which were perfect camouflage against the maturity pecan bark. The underside was a salmon or orange color with dark brownish black lines. Unfortunately the specimen was destroyed by dermestid insects as with many children’s insect collections.
I just came across a Black Witch moth at work in Lake Arrowhead California a week ago, and just like one of your readers noticed that it was dying and brought it home. I put my hand to it, and it crawled on without hesitation. I shared it with my best friend and ex-wife (the same person) As we talked about my experience with him, it was a male, it passed away on the table of our deck in the back yard. When I first saw him I felt an overwhelming flood of emotions, and could not figure out why, until I realized that It felt like I was seeing God. I cried uncontrollably, off and on for hours. I know that it is a sign of death and/or money, but none of that was the case for me. I felt blessed as well. In looking back it could have signaled the end of my marriage, but the beginning of a new relationship with my ex. I still have him in a shadow box in the dinning room. A pivotal interaction that I will never forget.
I can totally understand how you felt/feel. Although it normally applies to the relieving of emotional tensions through a reaction to art, I think the term catharsis applies here….nature is art to me anyway. Best wishes to you.
Now let your ex out of that shadow box! ;- )
I am glad I found your website and information. I have had a wondrous experience
last month with a Black Witch Moth landing on my head. Last August 17 at 2am
in my kitchen of my condo in San Diego, I had been stressed out and not sleeping because my father was suddenly in ICU, on life support and I could not sleep at all.
I was the one responsible for him and the nurses were talking to me late into the night.
I was getting ready to go to bed and felt something on my head. I brushed my head and a large bat…I thought…flew to the counter. I realized it was a large moth that seemed
to be breathing heavily (my dad was on life support with a breathing machine.)
It seemed very peaceful and let me take it outside to the patio. I came in and
suddenly remembered stories from years ago of someone dying and a butterfly
flying through the room. I went back outside to take a picture of the moth, and it had
vanished. Later that morning I found my dad had a massive heart attack that night.
I firmly believe he was visiting me to let me know he had transitioned and was at peace. I never saw one since that time, and feel this was a magical experience. It has helped me to deal with his death.
I’m so sorry for your loss. What an amazing tale. I’ve heard many such stories of butterflies or moths landing on loved ones’ shoulders at funerals, or “visiting” at poignant moments. That’s what makes them so magical to us. Thank you for sharing your story. –Monika
I found your site during a Google search for a large moth my husband found in the doorway to his work this morning. Turns out it was a Black Witch Moth. Thank you for this informative page!
Rachel, College Station, TX
Glad it was helpful for you, Rachel.
Actually Hannibal Lector didn’t insert Moths in the throats of his victims, Hannibal ate his victims. Buffalo Bill was the one who inserted Moths in the throats of his victims.
We have one perched on our pool deck and it’s about 7″ we weren’t sure what it was but it’s a very interesting creature.
I visited the beach the evening my grandpa passed away. The next morning, I noticed a huge brown moth fly in front of my face and around our canopy and my truck. It was very windy, and I was wondering how the moth got there. It was obvious it was struggling to fly through the wind. We were the only people there at the beach, no one in sight.
I looked up black witch moth and the meaning behind it. Some say it’s a loved one that recently died, coming to say “goodbye” for one last time.
True or not, I always try to pay attention to the signs.
Lovely story! –MM
The Black Witch Moth is a sign of death to my family… Me and
mom saw one in our house the
day before my grandma passed away well its been two years and we saw another one the day before my friend Adrian passed away and now tonight we have yet to see another one and not long after my sister has an anxiety attack…
We are northerners who have been living in south Texas fir 2 1/2 years…. And we’re convinced there was a bat flying around in our house! Turns out, it was just this moth! We have big mesquite trees in our back yard… Makes sense…… And I’m so glad it wasn’t a bat!
Came home this morning from work and noticed that we have another male roosting above our front door. We’ve had them in our house too. Im in Lubbock and have only seen these in the fall. I feel blessed to have one on the July 19th.
Oh no, i saw one just about 2 weeks ago on my door, now my grandpa is very sick ),:
I believe we have one on our back porch right now. It hasn’t moved in several hours. It is on the beam across the back porch.
There has been one resting on my screen door all day. I had to visit quite a few websites to make the ID. I live outside of Nazareth, PA, so this is a rare moth for us to see. The really odd thing is that my son is coming home from Texas next week and he lived in Mexico for a short time.
I would like to send a picture of the moth.
I live in Las Vegas … I came home the other night to find a black witch moth by my porch… I thought it was a bat…It actually wow’d me..Ive never seen something so huge… this evening I learned a family member is passing… I brought up the moth during conversation and learned the moth appeared to notify us of a loved ones death…I then read about it and I am absolutely amazed… something so beautiful symbolizes death…. and the myths everyone tries to ignore in this day and age still exist
I wrote a post last August about my
dad passing the same time a black
witch moth landed on my head in my
kitchen in San Diego at 2 am. Since
then I have also come into some
inheritance monies, so both myths
proved true to me…coming in to money as well as death of a loved one.
I found a Black witch moth in my house about 5 years go. Probably entered through the dog door.
This year, 2022, my Mexican Paloverde tree was dying and tilting like it was going to tip over. It was cut down. When removing the stump, we found about 50 each, 3” to 4” long by 1/2” diameter white larva eating the roots under the tree. We think they were Black Witch Moth larva.
The could have been fishing bait for really big fish.
Yesterday saw one in my sun pourch. Thought it was a bird. Waving hands trying to herd it towards the door. It went out then came back. Waved hands again and it left. Got on computer and looked up moths of Texas and there it was. First sighting for me. Huge!
Mine returned again! He was resting on the recliner i ait on. Saw him last week…my leg started hurting really bad to where i can’t walk…then got a call this morning from dr that i have a pinched nerve in my hip. Could the double sighting be a warning?
Im in San Diego, and Im deathly afraid of insects. (Seriously, terrified) One of these black witch moths was flying in my work tonight, and I ran screaming from the room. A co-worker chased it with a broom, and it ended up flying into a chandelier cup up high, where it died shortly after from the heat of the light. Someone took it out, and it an exact match to the photo you have here of the female. This is the second time one has come after me, I dont kmow why. Nobody is more terrified of insects than me! I can see that it is truly beautiful, but I do not understand why they come after me when Im so scared of them. 🙁
HEATHER babeeeee my family could tell you of my horrible time with these monstrous sized butterflies in Cabo at our vacation Villa. It was 4 years ago and the THOUGHT still unnerves me. We had sooooo many of them around the property, at the pool, high on the ceilings and stuck to the large sliding glass doors. I was a wreck.
I have been blessed with many encounters with this moth, here in hawaii we believe it is a loved one come to visit, or say goodbye, one came on my moms birthday, she passed away 20 years before, and I found it passed away after photographing it where i work,( nursing home) I mounted it and gave to my father, he loves it. I have extensive photos of them, And find them most beautiful, I have a female in my chicken house right now, she loves hawaiian honey in water, and has been in my house for over 2 weeks now. I feel blessed when I encounter these special creatures, And have had so many encounters I have lost track. Aloha from Hawaii. They are all good.
I just found one on my bathroom window. I live in Nevada County, California https://www.flickr.com/photos/moodyweaver/14507884059/in/photostream/
Hello from the desert of Joshua Tree California. I work at the local Copper Mountain Community College, and was notified by another coworker of the biggest moth he had ever see. When I went outside to look, I first thought it looked like a bat, and then I thought it may be a hawk moth. Thank you for clarifying for us. He mentioned it my be a reincarnation of his Uncle whom passed away this morning. A sign that his spirit is saying hello. Either way the beautiful creature is biggest moth I have EVER seen. After reading the various folklore, he and I are purchasing a lotto ticket together (just in-case). 😉
Ha ha. Good luck to you, Erika. Let us know if you win–do we get a commission?
I have, one what should I do with it?
Need answer asap
Leave it be to do its thing.
I’m sitting here in my living room in Scottsdale, AZ, looking at one resting near the ceiling of my back balcony. My cat spotted it first, and when I looked to see what she was gazing at, I first thought it was a bat. It’s huge — the wingspan is easily 7 inches. Maybe I should buy some lottery tickets when I go out this evening?
Do it ! Let us know if you win.
This morning I showed up to work& found these huge moths all over the front of the building, on the windows, the eves, the hanging flower pots, the flower buckets, like an infestation, I’m assuming they are that of the Black Witch Moth, they are very big, some with a pink color in their wing span, there are tons of them, why, they’re laying on the ground, in the birds nests, what is happening, I haven’t seen them on any other store in town, why do they lay on the ground dead like? Are they sleeping & wake at night, are they sucking every bit of life out of all my flower pots because besides the heat my flowers aren’t doing well. I’m in Hines Oregon, can I get some feedback on this invasion of moths?
I was walking in the parking lot going to church and just looked down and saw this huge grayish blackish moth .
I first thought it was a baby bat.
What could this mean, I just recently started going back to church.
I feel like God is trying to tell me something
How thrilled am I to have seen this amazing creature…then to come upstairs and check the computer to find out what it was exactly and it leads me right to you. Doubly blessed. Not knowing any of the back story on this moth, at first both Paul and I wondered if it might be a bat. And, after observing that it wasn’t, I watched it in astonishment and thought to myself…is this a bad omen (and a blues song started playing referencing Lucifer…at which point I shut down my over active imagination). I love to be reminded that great nature is right in my backyard in the middle of the desert. Love you guys…miss you and San Anton…
I was putting my bike away and I live on Coronado an island off San Diego and a black witch moth flew by me and we took pictures and caught it we set it free but it says on the map none have been found in San Diego
well…. Yesterday I had the most thrilling moment of my life watching a huge night butterfly, it was big like a bat and it came on my balcony through my plants. It was so silent for the size of it and as it flought front of my bird cage i saw that it had a small yellow-orange light on it. I was so stunned with the creature that my breath stoped. this is the only site with the same details (butterfly like a bat) that I found.. but I live in Greece. Really far from the places that exists. so maybe it was something else. If you know what it was please let me know. I was shocked by the light on the front. We don t have fireflies in Greece or so huge night butterflies. I thing you call them moths. So please tell me, what was it??? Thank you
Found a large male (7″ wingspan) on the outside wall next to my office door in Sierra Vista, Arizona yesterday (15 September 2014). He is still there today. Guessing he is sitting out the heavy rains we will be receiving over the next couple of days before he resumes his journeys.
Got great photos of one that flew into my garage. It was very startling in the darkness!
San Diego by the way!
Yes! Today around 2 p.m here in liberty station San Diego, one huge black moth which I thought was a bat as well was on the wall in my garage! I was so stunned but creeped out at the same time. I have never seen anything like this! Someone chased it out but it seemed to not want to leave. We didn’t want to hurt the beautiful creature. Now I feel bad that I didn’t let it stay a while. Looked like a butterfly when it flown to the ground.
Wow it was august 2012 when the black witch moth flew on my head in my kitchen in San Diego. I had not heard of them being here before. I ticket to the patio because it was breathing hard which I believe was actually my father transformed as he was having a heart attack in Oregon. I came back in and realized I should take a picture and immediately came back out but it had disappeared almost like it was just a mirage.
I’m in Bankers Hill in San Diego & came home last night to find one above my neighbor’s door. Scared me so bad! I hate bugs, moths, etc. I can’t imagine if this flew on my head. I’d probably have a heart attack. I wish I didn’t have this phobia because there are millions of different species in the world & I’d like to be able to hold them or not freak out. But flapping wings scare me! The one hanging here does not have spots. It looks solid black. But after reading all these myths I’m going to go get a lottery ticket! Also, my dad died in 2013. When he died, a huge flying insect landed in my car while driving. I freaked out. But then people told me it was my dad saying bye. I didn’t believe them, but I think now I’ll look at this Mothra as my dad visiting. Maybe it’ll lessen the fear factor. Unless it flaps it’s wings & comes into my apt. Then it’s screaming time!
Spotted Black Witch Moth above window on back porch today. Live in Corpus Christi, TX. Just wanted to add location, forgot in previous comment.
I live in Hawaii and I just found one of these resting on my husband’s motorcycle in the driveway. It’s so pretty. The funny thing is that right after I found it my husband sold our second car and came home with a bunch of cash, so I think that Carribean folk lore has something to it. Lol
Found a tiger moth on the front screen door this morning. Thought it was stuck, I tried to blow it off, but it stayed still. My husband told me to leave it alone. Intrigued how it just stayed so still.
Cool creatures, moths.
Check my blogsite, http://www.thisismyorenda.com, in a few days for the details of my first encounter with a Black Witch. Truly a magic moment for me–and in many ways, an enlightening one.
We had two of these on our front porch under an eave for the past four days, today there are six of them! Looks like 4 male/2 female. We live at 4500 ft. in Sedona AZ! We have mesquite trees and pines, they occasionally leave the porch for the trees. We bought lotto tcikets just in case. 🙂 My fiancees father passed away three weeks ago, he’s transformed we believed! Free from Parkinsons finally. Six of these huge moths is really something!
That is a wondrous event and you should always remember it.
One of these just sailed onto my patio and is resting on the wall of my patio. Wings probably 5 inches tip to tip, so this is apparently a small one! Beautiful, and a nice Saturday morning treat here in Las Vegas. The picture I posted on Facebook is blowing up with everyone saying they have shown up around their homes recently here. Wonder if them showing up in numbers has anything to do with the hurricane off Baja Mexico?
Tonight, one flew into my window. This is the second one. The first time was in September 2014. I live in San Clemente, California. Drives my two huskys nuts trying to catch it. I’m trying to get it out of my house with no injury. It’s 8 inches.
My son found a male Black Witch moth next to our front door (Anaheim, California) today, the wingspan just shy of 8 inches. At first I thought it was a bat! It stayed for several hours. When it finally decided to leave it flew like a bat… Could hear the wings flapping loudly! It was a beautiful, strange sight. I feel lucky ?
I’m in Mexico, and this male Black With Moth spent about 10 days in my room. I was going through a creative blank in my life, but all of a sudden, a whole story went through my head, thanks to this moth. I tried setting it free everyday, but it always came back in my room at night. Yesterday, I left him on a flower, and after trying to go back in my hand, I left it on the flower. There has been a storm during the day and he still hasn’t come back. Good night sweet prince.
My husband found one on the ground by the car (sadly lifeless) in Orange County, CA. (Tustin). Not sure why it died. I have never seen anything like this before and wonder if it was affected by the high temps here in CA. or if a cat or animal possibly got a hold of it? In any case, I would love to know why (or when) these moths are/have started to surface in CA. I have seen people on Facebook posting pictures of these moths and had never seen anything like this before.
Just found a giant one hanging on my door knocker. It’s in a secluded hallway in Hollywood, CA, and I guess it won’t leave me until tonight. I’m in ill health and really don’t want this thing in my house! It’s easily 7 inches and does look like a bat. Never seen one in all my life living in CA. I bet it’s this hot, humid weather.
Thank you for this post, very helpful! My girlfriend and I spotted this very rare siting in our balcony just hanging there. We had no idea what it was and it HIGHLY resembled a bat at first. My girlfriend’s dog just died on Thursday and I can’t help but wonder if this was the dog’s spirit coming back to say goodbye? My gf and her dog were very close and she sadly had to part from the animal when she moved away to go to school in SD. We now both live in SD, and we are both in awe at this event!
I have lived on Montserrat, British West Indies and now live on Nevis. Being a Brit I find these moths totally fascinating and many have come into my home and sadly eventually expired. Nothing I do will ever persuade them to go back outside. Here they are called Money Moths and are considered lucky if they come into your home. As for the Death bit, well I will go with the local custom of believing them to be Money Moths although I am still waiting!” Maybe the next one in my bedroom will bring some for me! Lol.
I know the Black Witch is Migratory showing up in the Caribbean and in the Hawaiian Islands. I was wondering it’s cousin, another owlet moth called the White Witch ( Thysania agrippina ) Does it migrate outside of it’s normal range?
I live in Ohio and a black witch moth just came out of its cacoon under a table on my front porch I have never seen anytihing like this in my life I was very freaked out at first but have been reading everyone’s comments and it must be what this is. It looks just like the pictures I have seen on line about this moth. What should I do if anything?
Hi Dianne from Ohio again . My husband informed me that there is no cacoon just the bat moth .they are amazing to look at, this is a first for me.
We are in Costa Rica, at the southern tip of the Nicoya Peninsula and have 2 Black Witch moths in the rafters of our porch. Hope it is good rather than bad luck.
One flew in to my bedroom last night and then to the hall where it spent the night. I opened the door this morning and it flew out. Live in Albuquerque.
This just happen to me I went outside to my backyard and I notice a huge black moth close toy door as some Mexicans like me growing up with them there beliefs are death… So my anxiety level is super high but reading your article I hope it was Here for my lottery ticket tonight
one flew into the garage it was huge did do much but looked like it was watching over something or someone
how would I upload a picture
Saw a black witch moth for the first time this evening August 8, 2016. At first I thought it was a bat, but followed it until it landed on a window sill and spread its wings. The black, brown, white design was absolutely stunning. The size of it was mind blowing as was the design. Location was in Blythe, California.
I just saw one resting on my driveway here in north San Diego county this morning. It was a large male and of course I took pictures of it next to a Sharpie for scale and texted the pictures to my husband and kids. Just stunning. Off to buy a lotto ticket!
Good luck! –MM
We have had a Black Witch moth perched outside on our patio wall for the past day here in Newport Beach. Wish I had seen it fly in! Quite an amazing creature! Glad we can provide safe harbor!
I was at the Goodwill shopping with a friend as we got in my truck to leave I saw what I thought was a bat ..then I could see it was a huge butterfly ..I hopped out of my truck to see it better it flew under my truck ..my friend never saw it .About an hour later I arrived home ..I heard flapping like a bird in the back seat…the witch moth had hitched a ride with me ! I gently picked it up to set it free…it flew over my roof into some trees …what an amazing sight! It was huge and a male I think ! I am in Southwest Oklahoma and have never seen anything like it! Exciting and wonderful!
I am so scared of these things!! I know they don’t bite scratch or any other harm, but I just am of scared of them! I have lived here in Cabo San Lucas, MX almost 3 years and I have never seen so many before. I moved here, from San Francisco Bay Area and want to move back!! Just kidding, I would just wish there were fewer of them!
Leise, I feel your pain!! I am terrified of those things…and any moths for that matter. I saw one of these recently in my apt complex hallway. It was nesting above my neighbor’s doorway. I was so scared that it was going to fly into my apt when I opened my door. I actually had my brother-in-law drive over and remove it. I can’t even imagine seeing more than one at a time. I know they are safe & harmless, but they just look scary. And anything that has the capability to FLY into my face is not good. I don’t even like birds. In fact, I think I’m afraid of anything with wings. Even ladybugs!
I have lived in Blythe, California for 37 years and never saw one until a month ago. Blythe is 99 miles north of the Mexico border along the Colorado River. Must be this giant moth found a new migration path. The one I saw hung around for a day and night. “Mine” was resting in a flowering Texas Sage bush until I passed by and then it flew around the corner of the house and rested above a window sheltered by the overhang of the roof. I had no interest in interfering with its destiny, but I did hope that it layed some eggs on that Texas Sage.
Found one in my house on September 12th 2016 Whittier California thought it was cool look like a bat
I didn’t even know that this witch moth existed.. I woke up to get bottle water .. As I was walking I seem something it was one top wall by the door. I don’t know how long it was there.. I got scared I got some spray from kitchen counter sprayed it it flew I tried looking for it I couldn’t find it.. Says if someone I’ll it means death. Why did I have to encounter this butterfly..
Was it inside the house? Did you have an open window?
I live just outside of New Orleans and this big moth paid me a visit tonight. I got a good picture of him near my porch light. I do get quite a few big moths that come to my back door area. A white striped phoenix also has visited as well as a few other phoenix types. I like them and are amazed that they are not disturbed by my presence.
Is there a website where I can report my sightings and or pictures?
It wasn’t Hannibal lector that placed the cocoons in the victims mouths, it was the buffalo bill character in the movie that did it.
Fort Collins CO
A Black Witch Moth flew out of my herb garden while watering this evening. It is hanging onto a brick wall of the house waiting for sunset. It is by far the largest moth I have seen in Colorado. July, 17th 2017
Be happy it blessed you with it’s presence. They are quite large and special.
Have one on the outside wall of my house – on my front porch. Scared me, but now I think I’ll just go buy some lottery tickets! (yes, I live in south TX lol)
1:30 am here in Austin, TX. Walked outside into my garage and saw a black bat (so I thought) on my white wall. Got a little closer and realized it was a black moth. Not sure what to do since it can’t get out unless I raise the garage door!
Just saw one outside the front door of my bank in Yukon, OK as I went in to deposit my check. It was resting on a red brick wall and was nearly camouflaged. Its wingspan was easily 5-6″. It’s beautiful and I hope no one hurts it. Wish I could post a picture.
Just found a beautiful Black Witch mouth in my garage in Central Kentucky!
Ok so I’m in SAN ANTONIO TEXAS. and I just saw one in my garage as I was getting in my truck it was flying more towards my 23 yr old daughter huge butterfly never seen one like that I freaked cuz she’s 2 months pregnant but I’m going to try those myth best of luck to all
I witnessed a black witch moth above the rear door of my home two months ago here In Los Angeles CA. I researched and read the positive and negative beliefs. In my case the ascalapha odorata turned out to be a money moth . Thankful, grateful, and blessed.
Woke up to a male black witch moth this morning on my patio screen door. It’s huge; it does look like a bat! I read that superstition suggests that I might win the lottery. I will have to buy a ticket today!
Update to my previous post: I neglected to mention that I live in Mission Viejo, CA. As soon as it became dark, the moth continued with his journey. P.S. I bought $20 of lottery tickets and didn’t win anything. I am happy that I was able to witness this incredible moth. That was my gift!
Found a Black Witch Moth hiding from the sunlight in Tuscaloosa, Alabama today. Impressive creature!
I found this impressive moth on my moms window in Miami, FL. It did indeed make us think of s bat in size.
I don’t normally play the lotto but plan on buying one this week!
I live in Henry County, Missouri, and found one of these moths on my living room ceiling earlier today! I’d estimate its wingspan was about 5″ but kinda hard to tell exactly as I have 10′ ceilings in my house….and how it got INSIDE my house I have no idea. I stood on a chair to try to get a picture of it; it wasn’t a really clear photo but good enough that I could identify it. I found another one last summer on the underside of my porch swing and when I disturbed it, it took off in a wild, zigzag pattern like a bat outta hell! I still don’t know how I’m gonna get it out of my house, but I’m very pleased I was able to see another one–SO awesome!
I have one of these moths in my house right now. In Michigan it is 32 degrees and 5 inches snow on ground. I don’t want to kill it. I have seen him in the summer and I though he got out, until I see him 2 weeks ago in my house. He perches himself on the wall by my tv in open site. I just can’t throw him outside, or he will die, and I’m not going to kill it, because he’s harmless. Is this going to turn into a caterpillar or butterfly? Any suggestions on what I should do or care for it?? I know it sounds silly, but he’s been in all the rooms, and I think he follows me and then just perches himself in front of me in open space on the wall. I know silly, but I think he knows I don’t want to hurt him, lol!! Just weird to see this in the cold winter months.
Buy a lottery ticket!
I think I will, lol and I’ll name my new pet “Lucky”, lol
I woke up to find one of these beautiful moths resting by the curtains in our living room, in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
He had a split down the rear end of his right wing and his right-hand feeler (?) appeared to be missing. Anyway, since we have two cats, who wouldn’t hesitate in grabbing him, given the chance, I caught him in a large jar and released him out the front door. He flew off quite happily into the trees.
Must have had a wingspan of at least five inches and was quite beautiful, actually. I took some photos too, prior to releasing him and buying a lottery ticket!
Umm, you do realize that Hannibal Lechter was in prison when those moth cocoons were placed in the victim’s mouths. Might want to check your facts again.
IF anyone or an Entomologist knows what this very strange creature is seems to be a cross between a catepillar and a milli- or centipede; please let me know.
Body—snake like; 14 to 16 inches long;
Body diameter -thin as a thinnest spaghetti noodle. becoming catepillar soft in death.
Locomotion—-like a side winder rattle snake instead of going forward like most catepilars or milll.centi=pedes.
Legs-like a centipede or millipede.that is like a half of a swastika.symbol
Color–solid black all over.
Bristles or hairs —none present or seen.
Head– mostly made up of big eyes like most caterpillars
Antennae– 2 antennae 6 inches long curved over body.
Head–occupied mostly by what appears to be eyes. and caterpillar shape
Spinners: Yes apparently, able to spin 8 feet or more string from a ceiling.
This creature swung by me attached to a spun string coming out of its body (head??) scaring the **** out of me twice and then landed on the couch beside me where i was sitting. I at first though it was some kind of snake. I was so frightened by it that I almost killed it on site but recovered my wits and captured it in a glass bottle where it died 24 hours later and dried up. In death it dried to be 6 inches long.
I discovered a black witck moth this afternoon resting above window on my back porch. Beautiful creature. Great to learn interesting details and folklore about it. Wish I could post a pic.
The description I wrote of the strange caterpillar-centi=miillipede like creature could have survived and arrived from South or Central banana boxes. that I use for storage.–if this is any geographic help in determining what it is. I have searched online and in libraries for photos and other categorical information but have not found it.
[…] Black Witch Moth: Large, Common, Bat-like, and Harmless […]
Here in lake forest California 2 hours away from Tijuana Mexico and had not one but two black witch moths on my patio both flying next to my door. One is still there and I have never seen such a beautiful creature before. One antenna missing and great big black eyes and very very hairy grey body with enormous grey wings. Definitely want to know his lifelong story I’m sure its incredible. Not only to have had teo of them here at the same time.
So just to tell you I double checked again and they both are still there on my patio. I have never in the 10 years I have been here have seen not only one but two of these. Could each of these be for me and my boyfriend. Why two?? Who are they and why would they visit me? I’ve been going through alot lately. My dad’s passing is June 19??? My best friend too. So what does this mean? Neither one of us is sick. My dog is fine, my chameleon is fine, my bearded dragons are fine. I will look into it further. Thwy are both near my door next teo each other and are absolutely stunning.
Pinellas Park FL
Saw one here in Condominium front door breezeway. Beautiful at first thought it was a sick bat
I had a male above my door on 6/9/2019 in Gray, Louisiana.
July 6, 2019. Over our door in brainerd, MN. Thought it was a bat when I saw it fly over. Reasing up on this moth….wow, so awesome.
In McAllen, TX spotted one of those huge Moths. Above the front door!
Look forward to fortune times! 🙂
In my garage at the back door a huge Black Moth I live in Bisbee ,Arizona
Hi Resa in Bisbee. This is Mary in Green Valley, AZ (30 miles south of Tucson). 5″ female black witch moth
rested on the window screen of my enclosed entryway this afternoon out of the sun and the heat. It’s September
3rd, 2019. I never had seen one.
On the side of my house tonight in Reno, Nevada
We saw one just outside our garage door. We are located 20 miles west of Temple, Texas.
Last night (July 14th) this huge black moth (About 5″ Wing Span) flew inside my garage via the back door to my garage. It flew around landed on the wall we took several pictures. The moth was attracted to the garage light and flew around it I did not want it to die or be harmed. So I turned off the light and opened the garage door it flew out after nudging it to go out. I live in a small town in Northwestern, IL never had seen anything like this before.
Greenwich, NY July 17th, 2019
I was outside on my back porch when something flew and hit me in the back of my head. I thought it was a bat! It rested under the light above my door. I ran to my front door, terrified. This moth is huge and after reading about it, I will be playing the lottery tomorrow!
Two nights ago my fiance’ and exsperienced a huge batlike moth at our back door and we have no light above it. It proceeded to climb the edge of the door to the top and just sat there. We ran to get a flashlight and it was gone before we could get a good look at it. Then last night as i was sitting on my swing in the back yard here it come again, with company! The other one was even bigger. I was so amazed by them and a bit scared at the same time i ran inside and googled what i saw and came apon this websight im commenting on at the present. Hmm maybe they will come again tonight! Until then i need to go buy me a lottery ticket!
I had one of these in my house on 6 September 2019 in Essex England.
When I opened the back door and put the outside light on to put my dog out early this morning a Black Witch or Cecropia moth started flying around. Scared the dickens out of me! It was huge with an 8-9″ wingspan! At first I though it was a bat, but when it was flopping around like it was drunk and banging into the house and garage, I was able to see it better in the light. It definitely wasn’t a bat. I had no clue to what it was until I found it here on this website. I live in the northern part of the Upper Peninsula in Michigan near Lake Superior and have seen many large moths, but none were this big.
We had a black witch moth today on our back porch, wife was terrified as it was so large and she thought it was a bat at first. We let it fly on its way, no harm. Denton County (North) Texas
Hi Steve…and did anything happen afterwards?i mean they say black moths indoors are omen of death whereas some says it’s sign of good transformation? Just having a curiosity regarding this.can you please share us !
Female, Kona, Hawaii October 8th/9th, 2019
I just had a nocturnal visit from a generously sized Black Witch Moth in southern Mexico City, Mexico, @ 5am on the dot. He flew through my windows and I subsequently mistook him for being a bat. About 5inch wingspan with a small part missing from the tip of one of his wings.
I have a couple of images available if it is of interest to anyone.
I just saw the exact same moth.. with a tip of its left wing missing.. I wonder if it could be the same moth?
Wow!!! Unbelievable- we just saw one tonight as well wirh it’s wing clipped at the end. San Antonio Texas
I have a witch moth currently above the door on my porch… Cape Coral, FL
Back when I was about 10 or 11, I lived out on a farm in Manitoba. I woke up one day to one of these gorgeous moths right beside my pillow.
What does that mean??
Just spotted one of these gorgeous creatures in Elk, Ca. I was sure it was a bat for the first few minutes but he swooped close to me and I realized I was looking at a moth! At first I thought butterfly but realized it’s 1 am no butterflies at night. Did some research and realized holy crap that was a moth!!! He was so beautiful and flew sort of drunkenly it was the coolest thing I think I have ever seen. Thanks to this website because now I know a) that there in fact is such a thing as a moth with a seven inch wingspan and b) I’m not crazy! He was real!!! Best critter sighting ever.
I have a male one on my house right now. It has been here for about four days. I was going to put it out but we have a nesting Roadrunner and she would snatch it up quickly. I have a video of it inside above a doorway. Hopefully it has gotten something from my fruit bowl
We had a large one in our courtyard in the corner of one of our windows last night! It was huge and I got a great photo of it. It flew away this morning when someone came to the front door. We have large butterfly gardens so maybe it was attracted to our Cassia. Sarasota Florida.
I have had one big male for the last 3 days just hanging above my door bell next to the front porch light. He finally flew away, only to find him in my house on the wall. He must have slipped in when the front door was open. The biggest most beautiful moth I have ever seen. I got him to land on my hand and managed to take him out without hurting him in any way. I live in so. Cal.
I’m visiting my parents in Puerto rico and saw this thing that I thought was a butterfly but after doing some research came to find out it’s a huge black moth really nice and beautiful hopefully it will reach it’s destination I took a picture of it, never seen anything like it
[…] Texas Butterfly Ranch: https://texasbutterflyranch.com/2012/07/31/black-witch-moth-large-common-bat-like-and-harmless/ […]
I found this moth inside my covered patio, close to the top of the door. At first glance from inside I thought it was a wasp nest, from the shape and color. It didn’t seem to mind the door opening and closing, the dogs or me. It is so huge and beautiful! It may have attached some eggs to the house? It has remained in the same place, in the same position all day and night. My photos do not do it justice! Norman, Oklahoma August 5
This really strange thing just happened to me about 15 min. ago…I opened my door to bring in a plant that was wilting because of the heat down here in Texas …and I left my front door open while I did that, and in the time it took me to get back up I turned around with the plant on my hand, (like 2 spit seconds) and this black beautiful beauty flew into my house and just flew upstairs…and its still there..Don’t have any idea how I’m going to get it out. I’ve heard it means a whole lot of different meanings. This is the fourth time its happened to me.
I live in Hudson Colorado and we have one of these beauties hanging out on a garage wall. Thought it was a bat at first! Based on what I have read this moth must have traveled quite a distance to be in our garage.
hannibal lecter did NOT insert moth cocoons in his victim’s throats, he ate them. the serial killer he helped clarice starling find buffalo bill did indeed insert black witch moth cocoons in his victim’s throats (in the novel) in the film he used the death’s head hawk moth. dr lecter ate his victim’s as he preferred to eat the rude.
We encountered Black Witch moths recently ( Oct 15,2021) in a friends home on the Island of Eleuthera, Bahamas. We were told the Bahamians call it a Money Bat because legend is if they touch your left shoulder, you will come into 💰! Several of them would fly into the open door in the evening and roost around the house all night. They were about 6” wingspan. I took photos of some— that were males, as they lacked the stripe at bottom of the wings. I was happy to find your site about them, as they don’t really look like a bat, but like a moth!