Thysania agrippina

Thysania agrippina
White witch moth
Thysania agrippina
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae
Tribe: Thermesiini
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 cm (11–11 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, 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.

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


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