The 'Black Witch' Moth (Ascalapha odorata)

Ascalapha odorata

Female Black Witch Moth (Ascalapha odorata)
Location: Kohala Coast, Big Island, Hawaii

This is quite possibly the largest moth I have ever seen.  I saw it at rest on a window screen.  First I photographed it, then I attempted to measure it.  Good thing I took the picture first, because as soon as I touched the screen with my ruler, the moth spooked and flew off, weaving all around the garden until it found a place to hide high up in the foliage of one of our Monkeypod trees.  Let's just say its wingspan was approximately six inches across (about 15 cm).

It is a female Black Witch moth (Ascalapha odorata).  The male of the species does not have that pretty white scalloped stripe on the wings.  And just look at the wonderful iridescent colors on the wings.

You can learn about this unusual moth by visiting The Black Witch Moth: Its Natural and Cultural History on the Texas Entomology web site.  Apparently these migratory insects are prevalent in northern Mexico and parts of Texas.  We see them infrequently here in Hawaii.


Unknown said...

6 inches wing span wow you have got it beautifully with your macro lens.

BNS said...

Thank you, T and S. Yes, the 105 mm macro lens was the right lens for this shot.


kml said...

6 inches - WOW! What a beauty it is!

BNS said...

Thanks, Kathy. I'm hoping to see another one so that I can get some ultra-macros of sections of the wings.