What Does It Mean When A Black Moth Lands On You? Mexican Witch Moth Symbolism & Spiritual Meanings, Explained

Photo: Martin Rudlof Photography / Shutterstock
black witch moth

Usually, when people encounter moths in their homes, their presence doesn’t really attract much attention other than a slight annoyance. Attracted to bright lights, they most of the time will go unnoticed.

However, some moths are more intriguing than others, including the Black Moth.

Many people regard the Black Witch Moth as a bad omen, but what does a Black Witch Moth sighting really mean?

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What is a Black Witch Moth?

A Black Witch Moth, sometimes known as the “bat moth,” resembles a bat in size and shape with a seven-inch wingspan. It is the largest moth in North America. 

They are also known by their scientific name Ascalapha odorata, or “black witch.”

Black Witch Moths are common and abundant throughout regions ranging from the Southern USA to Brazil. They fly through June to October from the Rio Grande Valley and year-round in south Florida. 

They are very common across Texas following the start of the rainy season and in Mexico during June.

What does it mean when you see a Black Witch Moth?

The folklore surrounding Black Witch Moths is all over the map, much like the moth itself.

Black Witch Moths symbolize death in some cultures.

In Mexico, they are known as “mariposa de la muerte,” which translates to the butterfly of death. 

Some believe if a Black Witch Moth enters the home of someone who is ill, the person will die. 

A variation on this theme in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas region is that death only occurs if the moth flies in and visits all four corners of one's house.

In Paraguay, they believe that if the Black Witch Moth touches your eyes, you will go blind.

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Black Witch Moths are a good omen in other cultures.

In Hawaii, black witch mythology, though associated with death, has a happier note in that if a loved one has just died, the moth is an embodiment of the person's soul returning to say goodbye.

In the Bahamas, where they are locally known as money moths or money bats, and the legend is that if they land on you, you will come into money.

Similarly, in South Texas, if a black witch lands above your door and stays there for a while, you will supposedly win the lottery.

The Black Witch moth is not harmful, as it does not bite, sting, or carry diseases. 

It has only a straw-like tongue to drink flower nectar through and is regarded as being perfectly harmless. 

The Black Witch Moth is also nocturnal, meaning it rests during the day and flies around at night. They can usually be found hiding in people’s garages or any other dark space. 

The most famous sighting of Black Witch Moths was in the movie Silence of the Lambs, in which Hannibal Lecter inserted actual Black Witch Moth cocoons into the mouths of his victim in the film. In fact, while the moth on the movie poster is a Death’s Head Hawk Moth, the actual cocoon belonged to a Black Witch Moth.

Even if you don’t believe in the Black Moth meanings and superstitions, it is still interesting to see how they mean something different in many countries. 

All of the legends either being that the moth brings good luck or simply brings misfortune. 

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Nia Tipton is a writer living in Brooklyn. She covers pop culture, social justice issues, and trending topics. Follow her on Instagram.