|White witch moth
Thysania agrippina is a species of moth in the Erebidae family. The species has numerous common names, including white witch, birdwing moth, ghost moth, great grey witch, and great owlet moth. It is the lepidopteran with the biggest wingspan, which typically is reported as being up to 27–28 cm (11–11 in) and one Brazilian specimen had a wingspan of almost 30 cm (12 in). The Atlas moth and Hercules moth, however, have greater wing areas. The species occurs in Mexico, Central and South America, and appears as a stray as far north as Texas, USA.
The species is generally widespread, but is considered endangered in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, where it reaches the southern limit of its distribution.
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 members of Fabaceae (subfamily Caesalpinioideae). The larva illustrated by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) as Thysania agrippina is a sphingid, possibly Pseudosphinx tetrio or Pachylia syces.
David Wagner, a University of Connecticut Lepidoptera specialist is leading an effort to compile a database of records and determine the T. agrippina host plant and describe its life history.
- Ascalapha odorata, the black witch moth.
- Hugo Kons, Jr. (17 May 1998). "Chapter 32 — Largest Lepidopteran Wing Span". Book of Insect Records. University of Florida. Archived from the original on 1 July 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2013.
- "Robinson, G. S., P. R. Ackery, I. J. Kitching, G. W. Beccaloni & L. M. Hernández, 2010. HOSTS - A Database of the World's Lepidopteran Hostplants. Natural History Museum, London.".
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thysania agrippina.|
- White Witch, Texas Entomology page authored by Mike Quinn]
- White Witch Watch, documentation of ongoing effort to determine T. agrippina life history
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