The Black Witch Is Not Black

The black witch (Ascalapha odorata) is big, 6-7 inches in wingspan, but it isn’t actually black. I usually see this moth in shady areas like forests or ravines where it is a little dark, so it might look black, but it’s actually quite colorful. It is sometimes called a bat because of its size, color and bat-like flight, but that’s nothing more than a passing resemblance.

In various parts of the world, this moth may be considered a bad luck omen, a harbinger of death, a loved one’s soul returning to say goodbye or a sign that you will win the lottery. It’s easy to identify because it’s much bigger than any other moth on the island, but if you have any doubts, look for the eyespots on the front wings in the shape of the number nine. Or the number six if it is upside down, like the one in the photo below.

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