Giant Moth Native to South America Spotted in Chicago - NBC Chicago

Giant Moth Native to South America Spotted in Chicago

The animal has been identified as a Black Witch Moth, which can often be confused with a bat

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    Giant Moth Native to South America Spotted in Chicago

     A giant moth native to South and Central America has been spotted in Chicago. NBC 5's Sabrina Santucci has the details.

    (Published Tuesday, July 2, 2019)

    A giant moth native to South and Central America has been spotted in Chicago.

    South Shore resident Eric Allix Rogers captured a photo of the creature he says landed on the basement door to his building near 71st Street and South Shore Drive over the weekend.

    Rogers said he snapped a photo and left the moth alone.

    The animal has been identified as a Black Witch Moth, which can often be confused with a bat flying around at night, accoridng to Doug Taron, chief curator at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum.

    “In that dim light it’s going to look black, so you get this really big black think flying around and that lends itself to being called a black witch,” he said.

    Black Witch Moths are native to South and Central America and have a wing span that can measure up to 7 inches.

    “This is a species that tends to wander a lot,” Taron said. “They are known to periodically have incursions further north than they’re normally found.”

    It isn’t the first time the moth has been spotted in the upper Midwest, however, with sightings reported in 2017 and 2018.

    The giant moth is drawn to light and often flies into homes, experts say.

    “In some parts of the world the folklore is that they’re a harbinger of death and bad luck, but in other parts of the world it’s considered good luck if the black witch comes into your house,” Taron said. “It’s often thought that it means you’re going to come into some money.”

    No matter what you believe, the chances of spotting another one in the area are rare, experts said.

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