"Everything is ruined by repetition -- even Paris."
I'm not certain who first said it, but it is true, and bears repeating. Of course, it would then be ruined.
It is one reason I have a general blog rule of no follow-up posts. Today is going to be an exception.
Yesterday I introduced you to my mysterious mothly visitor.
Last month Kim noted that he liked reading my blog because the people who leave comments are witty, interesting, and erudite. Well, they have proven that once again.
The little electrons were still warm from posting when Chrissy correctly identified it as a Black Witch Moth. My friend Howard Platt then dug into his silver mine of local knowledge and provided us with some background on this interesting moth.
(Besides being well-informed, Howard is a fantastic photographer. He took the photograph at the top of this post and gave me permission to use it.)
As an homage to Mexico Bob, who loves all things creepy and crawly, let me tell you what I have learned about this piece of fauna in my new home.
The Black Witch moth, or as it is known to its more scientific friends, Ascalapha odorata, is the largest moth in North America, with up to a 6 inch wingspan. For those of you who thought I was turning a pussy cat into a werewolf, it really is a big moth.
Size matters, but its black color is even more striking. (As you can see in Howard's picture, it is quite colorful under a flash light.)
Anything that big and black has to have a legend to go long with it. The name (Black Witch Moth) is good for starters. But try on the Mexican name: mariposa de la muerte (butterfly of death) -- a name it has borne since pre-Colombian days. (But not in Spanish -- you, of course, already knew that.)
I showed a Mexican neighbor the photograph. She repeated "muerte" several times. Then asked: "¿Donde?" I responded: "Aquí." I guess that was the wrong answer from the look on her face.
And here is why:
- When there is sickness in a house and the moth enters, the sick person dies.
- If the moth flies over a man's head, he will lose his hair.
- If the moth lands and stays over a doorway, the resident will win the lottery.
- If the moth rests in the carport, bloggers can talk about it for at least two days.
Legends accompany many "sinister" animals. In the movies, they become stars. In real life, they usually end up dead smashed with a shoe. I imagine that these black beauties must live very peril-filled lives toting around all of their superstitious baggage.
Thanks to bloggers who took the time to share, we all know something we did not know yesterday.