Thysania agrippina

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Thysania agrippina
Thysania agrippina 0001b L.D.jpg
White witch moth
Thysania agrippina
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Clade: Euarthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Genus: Thysania
Species: T. agrippina
Binomial name
Thysania agrippina
(Cramer, 1776)
  • Phalaena agrippina Cramer, 1776
  • Syrnia strix Hubner, 1821

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 27–29 centimetres (10.6–11.4 in) and one Brazilian specimen had a wingspan of almost 30 cm (12 in).[1] The Atlas moth and Hercules moth, however, have greater wing areas.[1] The species occurs in Mexico, Central and South America, and appears as a stray as far north as Texas in the U.S.

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.

The larva illustrated by Maria Sibylla Merian (1647–1717) as Thysania agrippina is a sphingid, possibly Pseudosphinx tetrio or Pachylia syces.[2]

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).[3]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • White Witch, Texas Entomology page authored by Mike Quinn]
  • White Witch Watch, documentation of ongoing effort to determine T. agrippina life history