Black Witch Moth in Goleta

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By Hugh

On Saturday I received a text from a friend saying he'd seen a bird-sized butterfly at The Village at Los Carneros. Upon seeing the photo, it was apparent that this was a moth, and one I'd not seen before, a Black Witch.

Luckily it was still there when I arrived some three hours after the initial sighting. The thing was huge, almost bat-like. The wingspan was about six inches. In researching the bug, this one appears to be a male. Females can be even bigger, some eight inches across, which makes them the biggest moth in North America. They are seldom seen in our county, becoming commoner the farther south you go. There are many superstitions associated with seeing one of these moths, mostly on the dark side. For instance, in Mexico, they are considered a harbinger of death.

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chico berkeley Sep 08, 2021 10:31 AM
Black Witch Moth in Goleta

I see these up and down the coast and always near the beach.
They are so large they seem like they wouldn't survive long with flying predators.
Some have incredible colors on underside and usually different every time i have come across them.
I think they like Vetch,since it is the only plant in common at places I have seen them.

Suzi805 Sep 08, 2021 10:03 AM
Black Witch Moth in Goleta

I saw one of these a few years ago, stuck to the wall at the BofA Atm in Montecito. I took a picture but was not able to share it here in this forum. It was massive, freaked me out... a lot.

SB_TAHOE Sep 08, 2021 09:59 AM
Black Witch Moth in Goleta

I had a female at my house on 8/31/2021. It was on the eaves by my front door, next to an old swallows nest, and it stayed for about 24 hours. I’ve submitted photos to Edhat, maybe they’ll add them to this post.

Snorky Sep 07, 2021 01:56 PM
Black Witch Moth in Goleta

"I'm gonna need a bigger swatter." j/k, Honestly, very cool, thanks for sharing, and the info.

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