Sunday, 16 November 2008

Black Witch, or am I going to die?

This rather large friend is spending this evening on the lower lanai entertaining the geckos and my cats. I managed to catch a picture of it on the steps into the garden (hence the mess which I promise to wash next week!). There's little in the picture to give scale, so to help I would estimate the wingspan to be about 5 to 6 inches (roughly 12-15 cm).

If I have my identification correct it's a Black Witch moth (Ascalapha odorata). It's not as colourful as the beautiful moth/butterfly Alice pictured recently, but it has a somewhat morbid reputation in many areas, hence the name. Apparently, it's a harbinger of death in Mexico and the Caribbean. In Hawai`i, though, it's supposed to be the soul of a recently departed loved one returning to say goodbye, so perhaps I'm safe for the time being. I must have loved a lot of currently deceased people in the past because these guys are fairly regular visitors to the lanai. It's the first time I've actually managed to take a picture of one though.


Zuzana said...

What a beautiful moth.
In Denmark a moth is called, if you try to translate it poetically; "The Passion of the Night". Not bad choice of words for a nation in such a cold part of the world.:)

Keera Ann Fox said...

Nothing that poetic in Norwegian. We just call 'em "møll" (sounds kind of like mull).

But yes, pretty moth, and interesting symbolism. Maybe all those deceased saying "hi" are just really friendly ghosts. Or asking for directions. ;-)

alice said...

It's got a bit of a 3-D effect working in a few spots on the wings. Very pretty.