Saturday, October 29, 2016


The Black Witch moth, Ascalapha odorata, also known as La Sorcière Noire, Mariposa de la Muerte, arrived at my house overnight. It is the largest of our North American moths with a wing span of up to 7" and is sometimes mistaken for a bat as it is nocturnal with a flight similar to a bat. This one is a male lacking the white stripe across the wing.  If I was superstitious I might be a little disturbed by its presence, especially at this time of year. It is on the wall, nestled up against the roof, over our side door.

Because of its association with bats it is tied to many superstitions. In Mexico, named the mariposa de la muerte( butterfly of death) they believe if it flies into your house it means and you are sick you will die. Here in Texas the butterfly has to visit all four corners of the house before a death. But if it appears after someone has died then it is their soul returning to bid you farewell. Some believe if it flies into your field of view it brings a curse from your enemy, or if it lands on your head your hair will fall out. I much prefer the one that says if it alights on you, you will get rich or if it lands over your door you will win the lottery. Should I go out and buy a lottery ticket? It's tempting.
Have you seen this visitor lurking around your house?


  1. Very interesting myths and legends connected to this bog ol' moth. I didn't know. Thanks.

  2. Poor moth to be encumbered by such a heavy weight of superstition! It can't hurt to buy a lottery ticket, though...

  3. I'm with Kris.... just one ticket....wouldn't it be fun!?

  4. Such ominous yet majestic names for such a lovely creature!