Moths of the Amazon Rainforest. Black Witch moth (Ascalapha odorata) White Witch (Thysania agrippina)
In general moths in England are relatively small and even the big ones are still only hand palm size, so it was with surprise and awe that I come to know the Amazon Rainforest moths.
One particular moth appeared everywhere. It was greyish brown with an exquisitely intricate pattern on its wings. It crept up the wooden walls of my home, sometimes onto the ceiling and I found it in hotel bathrooms,stuck to tiles and oblivious to me showering below.
One extraordinary individual covered two large floor tiles in a hotel lobby. I ran for my camera, having asked the receptionist, broom at the ready, not to touch it. Of course, by the time I got back it had gone, the broom returned to the cupboard and she was sitting painting her nails, a tolerant smile on her lips. I think they saw me as a kind of ‘cat woman’ with my obsession for birds and insects.
In some Latin American countries the Witches are thought to be the bringer of curses or death, but I never heard a Brazilian condemning them with such powers.
The Witches fed on fruit from the forest. Because they can feed almost continually in Rainforests, moths produce fatter caterpillars and therefore bigger adults, resulting in these huge insects. In fact, the White Witches are considered to have the widest wingspan of any moth in the world.
Not all the moths were big, of course, some were tiny. The little black one in the photo could always be seen near the ashes of bonfires, almost blending into the background. The pale yellow and pink moth I found on a table.
Photos taken of moth taken in shower room = mist on lens. White Witch (Thysania agrippina) or Black Witch moth (Ascalapha odorata)