Ascalapha odorata ♀ - Black Witch / Bruxa (Linnaeus, 1758)
Lepidoptera: Bombycina: Noctuoidea: Erebidae: Erebinae: Thermesiini
Ascalapha odorata is a moth in the order Lepidoptera, superfamily Noctuoidea, family Erebidae, subfamily Erebinae and tribe Thermesiini. The subject portrayed is a female.
The sexual dimorphism is pretty clear in this species; females possess a white stripe crossing the wings. The upperside of the forewings possess a blueish-green 9-shaped spot, somewhat iridescent and highlighted by shades of orange or yellow. The upperside of the hindwings possess two markings that are reminiscent of a moon shape (yet different) and are colored purple, pink, shades of blue and cream. The males possess a wingspan of around 9-16cm, while the females can reach more than 17cm in wingspan. Adults rest with wings open, these being pointy. Females are more contrasted than males. The larvae measure around 7cm in length (with registers displaying individuals with approximately 9cm), brown to black with three irregularly shaped pale splotches and two parallel dark lines running down their backs. They serve as food to many birds in the food chain.
They are found throughout Central America and Mexico, with its distribution extending from Brazil to the southern United States. After migration, the species can be found from Texas to Florida as well as the Hawaii islands, although not native there.
Adults feed on overripe rainforest food and fermenting fruit, especially banana. The larvae's host plants include Gymnocladus dioicus, Senna alata, Acacia sp., Ebenopsis, Albizia sp., Cassia sp., Prosopis sp., Robinia sp., Samanea sp., Pithecellobium sp., Uncaria sp., Acacia sp., Diospyros sp., Mangifera indica, Anadenanthera peregrina, Inga sp., Mora oleifera, Ficus carica...; these include many Fabaceae (Leguminosae) trees and more host plants may exist. Acacia dealbata is one of Ascalapha odorata's famous hosts.
They inhabit tropical and subtropical forests where there are plenty of Fabaceae (Leguminosae) trees. They are also found in urbanized and suburbanized habitats, where they often suffer bias due to folklore and cultural influences, being often ignorantly killed. They are nocturnal in habit, They can migrate great distances, even over open water.
Ascalapha odorata breeds year round in overlapping generations. The lifespan of adults is speculated to lie somewhere around three to four weeks. Once the females are impregnated, they begin to search for the host plants to lay the eggs, which are dark in color. After eclosing the caterpillars will feed on the plants they were laid on. The pupa is smooth and dark-colored, measuring around 4cm in length.
http://biodiversitygenomics.net/site/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/2014 - Ekrem - The Most Northerly black witch.pdf
24th of February, 2018 at 22:08:52.
Portuguese version in Project Noah at: http://www.projectnoah.org/spottings/1245515476
The erebid moth ''Ascalapha odorata'' bears the common name Black Witch. It is considered a harbinger of death in Mexican and Caribbean folklore. In Spanish it is known as "Mariposa de la muerte" (Mexico & Costa Rica), "Pirpinto de la Yeta" (Argentina), "Tara Bruja" (Venezuela) or simply "Mariposa negra" (Colombia); in Nahuatl (Mexico) it is "Miquipapalotl" or "Tepanpapalotl" (miqui = death, black + papalotl = moth); in Quechua (Peru) it is "Taparaco"; in Mayan (Yucatán) it is "X-mahan-nah" (mahan.. more