Black Witch Moth - 2001 Records

Ascalapha odorata (Linnaeus, 1758)

Black Witch Information - North American Records

Return to Texas Entomology - Compiled by Mike Quinn


Black Witch County Records for Texas in 2001

City County Date(s)
1 Baytown (4) Harris Co. 8-14 June
2 Liberty Co. 9 June
3 League City Galveston Co. 11 June
4 Artesia Wells (many) La Salle Co. 11-15 June
5 Guadalupe Co. 13-21 June
6 Corpus Christi Nueces Co. 15, 21 June
7 Dallas Dallas Co. 15 June
8 Stengl-Lost Pines Bastrop Co. 18 June
9 San Benito Cameron Co. 19-20 June
10 Houston Harris Co. 20 June
11 Austin Travis Co. 21 June
12 Lubbock Lubbock Co. 28 June
13 Stephenville Erath Co. June

 


Black Witch Records as Posted to TX-Butterfly 2001

(edited for brevity and relevance)


Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001
From: GMDunaway AT AOL.COM
Subject: League City-Black Witch Moth

I was waiting in the parking lot of the Academy sporting goods store in League City (just south of Houston) at 5:30pm today. A huge, black colored moth came flying in from the west and landed beneath a parked car across from me. <S> It was a Black Witch moth, in good condition, a male I think. This is only the second one I've ever seen. <S>

Matt/Galveston


Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001
From: parides <parides AT ELECTROTEX.COM>
Subject: Re: Black Witch

<S> A large, gravid female appeared today under the mercury lamps after the rains passed thru this morning.

Charlie 
[Corpus Christi, TX]


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001
From: Dale Clark <nardoz AT EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject: Re: Black Witch

What a timely post -- a female Black Witch showed up in my bait trap yesterday morning.

Dale Clark
Dallas County Lepidopterists' Society
Dallas, TX


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001
From: Ryan Caesar <r.caesar AT MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Black Witch

Last week our field entomology course was collecting at Chaparral WMA [link added], and the black witches were so abundant we stopped collecting them after the first night. We got them at black lights and on fruit traps in fairly large numbers.

<s>


Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001
From: GMDunaway AT AOL.COM
Subject: Black Witch (again)

Today at Greenspoint Mall just north of downtown Houston there was a Black Witch moth flying around like a bat just outside the Expo Center at 8:30am. This is the second one I've seen flying in daylight in the last 2 weeks. <s> What I would like to ask...are these "numerous" reports typical for the season or is this unusual? Also, are these individuals migrants from the south or is there a local breeding population?

Matt/Galveston


Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001
From: Mike Quinn <Mike.Quinn AT TPWD.STATE.TX.US>
Subject: Re: Black Witch (again)

<s> Phil Schappert on Monday, he said he saw one coming into a rotten banana feeder at the Stengl-Lost Pines Biological Station [link added] near Bastrop. The interesting thing was that the Stengl moth list has over 1000 species (http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/philjs/Stengl/lists/moths.html) but the Black Witch isn't on the list!!!

-=-=-
Mike
TPWD


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001
From: parides <parides AT ELECTROTEX.COM>
Subject: Re: Black Witch (again)

Matt writes:

> Also, are these individuals migrants from the south or is there a local
>breeding population?
>
>
>Matt/Galveston

Hola Matt:

In Corpus and in the RGV the Black Witch is a pretty common species. I have at least one a week under the lights at the lab and at the house. And have people bringing me Black Witches in Mayonnaise jars and Ziplocs on a fairly routine basis during the summer. In the valley, Black Witches can be found in the thick, shaded riparian habitats in the daytime. Good places to find them during the day are: the wooded trail from the hobo camp to the old girl scout camp at Falcon Dam, the Jaguarundi trail -south and other heavily wooded trails at Santa Ana, and the Riparian smugglers trail from Roma to Escobares to name a few. They often flush from the trunks of trees and can really scare the hell out of you especially when in areas where not many gringos dare to venture. <giggle>. So yes, the numerous reports are quite typical IMO. I think we just have alot more people looking now and as a result more reports. I suspect that many are local residents and some may also be migrants. In my experience I have seen more Black Witches during the day than I have seen coming to Black lights at night.

Charlie


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001
From: IxchelDeluna AT AOL.COM
Subject: Ascalapha odorata agonies...

The Black witch that loves my yard, well, she chose to sleep under my car.....I noticed she came out from there Tuesday but I didn't fully realize this till yesterday when I was in a hurry to get off to work. When at the intersection two miles away who do you think appeared and flew into traffic.

<s>

Cheerio, Liz
[San Benito]


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001
From: No Name Available <SusanS3733 AT AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: Black Witch (again)

In a message dated 6/21/2001 2:31:36 PM Central Daylight Time, p.COM writes:

> . I think we just have alot more people
> looking now and as a result more reports.

I think that it is hard to miss a Black Witch--I saw my first one over a week ago... <s> A few days later, I had a better view and took another picture in good light and the butterfly was in better condition--that was ID'd as a male Black Witch. Today, I saw another one flying by, but didn't get close to see if it was different or not.

<s>

Susan
San Antonio/New Braunfels


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001
From: parides <parides AT ELECTROTEX.COM>
Subject: Re: Black Witch (again)

<s> ... there was a huge Black Witch this morning right above the entrance door at my lab. <s>

Charlie
[Corpus Christi, TX]


Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001
From: Mike Quinn <Mike.Quinn AT TPWD.STATE.TX.US>
Subject: Re: Black Witch (again)

There was a Black Witch reported outside the window of one of our offices yesterday morning. Mike, TPWD, Austin


From: tgill AT igc.org
Sent: Friday, June 29, 2001
Subject: Fwd: Black Witch in Lubbock

<s>

Yesterday morning (in bright daylight!) I had a huge moth flitting around the eaves and an oak tree. I mean, HUGE. I thought it was a bat at first. It was my "lifer" sighting of a Black Witch (Erebus odorata), <s>

I had read about these as a kid when I was into lepidoptera as much as birds, but only dreamed of ever seeing one. <s>

This one was apparently a female, because it had the stripe down the wings. Unlike the illustration, this one had a beautiful bright YELLOW stripe.

Anyone ever seen one of these in Lubbock before?

-Tom Gill
tgill AT igc.org


Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001
From: Pauline Singleton <pcsing AT HAL-PC.ORG>
Subject: Black Witch

I am a new user, and find TX-BUTTERFLY very interesting.

Someone asked if the Black Witch sightings were typical or not, and is there a local breeding population. I cannot give a definitive answer to the question, but will simply share my experience.

I have lived in Harris County for more than fifty years (I'm not going to say how much more). As a kid, I was very interested in butterflies and moths. I spent a lot of time outdoors, and I collected them. And then, for many years, butterflies & moths took a back seat to lots of other things, but I still spent a lot of time outdoors.

I never saw a Black Witch until September 21, 1998, when I saw one in Baytown. Of course I didn't see everything, but you would think I would have seen one occasionally if they were very common.

I didn't see my second BW until this year. I had some plum trees that dropped some of their fruit, and it was on the ground. On 6-8-01, I checked the plums trees to see if I could find some plums that were still good. And there, feasting on a rotting plum, was a Black Witch. And then I saw another. And another. And another! Four of them! I certainly hope that "La Diabla" doesn't bring bad luck! (The story about the Mexican cab driver was hilarious.) The next day, June 9, my husband saw one in Liberty County. I saw my last one June 14.

I wonder if Tropical Storm Allison had anything to do with their abundance?

They are interesting, and they certainly can startle a person under the right circumstances. My husband went to check the oil in his truck, and as he raised the hood, a Black Witch fluttered, bat-like, right up in his face. Nearly made him hurt himself!

Pauline Singleton
Baytown


Date: Sun, 22 Jul 2001
From: Alan Wormington <wormington AT JUNO.COM>
Subject: Re: Black Witch

Everyone,

For your information, there was a Black Witch here at Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, on July 20th. This is the 9th Point Pelee occurrence since 1993 alone!

Alan Wormington, Editor
Point Pelee Natural History News


From: IxchelDeluna AT AOL.COM
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2001
Subject: Black Witches in Gulf of Mexico

Greetings All,
       Friday on the Brownsville Birding Festival's Pelagic trip, we saw throughout the day, 5 dead black witches floating out in the Gulf of Mexico. This was off the continental shelf in deep water in Mexico and U.S. waters. It was most surprising. I wonder...do they migrate over the gulf? Happy trails, Liz B. Deluna


Date: Mon, 23 Jul 2001
From: Forrest Mitchell <f-mitchell AT TAMU.EDU>
Subject: Red Dragonfly, Black Witch and Owl Moth

Hello all - here are some images to share with the list. The first is one of a black witch, photographed last month with a digital camera on a front porch here in Stephenville. Since everyone is seeing black witches this year, I checked with one of the local amateurs and he said the last time he saw one was in 1989. Then he pulled out an owl moth (Thysania zenobia) [link added] that he had found here in December the same year. I've never seen one of these locally and don't know anything about them, but will post the image as soon as we get one. He donated the specimen which will be going to the TAMU entomology museum if you are interested in it.

Black Witch http://stephenville.tamu.edu/~fmitchel/insects/blkwitch_1d.htm

<s>

-Forrest


25 Jul 2007 Mike Quinn / entomike@gmail.com / Texas Entomology