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|White Witch moth
Thysania agrippina is a large moth in the Noctuidae family. It has numerous common names, including White Witch, Birdwing Moth, Ghost Moth, Great Grey Witch, and Great Owlet Moth. It has a wingspan of up to 12 inches (31 cm), making it the Lepidopteran with the biggest wingspan. (The Atlas moth, however, has a greater wing area.) The species occurs in Mexico, Central and South America, but it appears as a stray as far north as Texas.
No confirmed rearing records are available for this species. Based on reports for sister species Thysania zenobia that feeds on Senna and Cassia, the larval host plants for the White Witch are probably also woody Fabaceae (subfamily Caesalpinioideae). The larva illustrated by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) as Thysania agrippina is a Sphingidae, possibly Pseudosphinx tetrio or Pachylia syces.
Chromolithograph of Thysania agrippina by Wyman and Sons, end of the 19th century
Illustration by Maria Sibylla Merian
Thysania agrippina from National Museum (Prague)
- Ascalapha odorata, the Black Witch moth.