What Does a Black Butterfly Symbolize?

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A black butterfly is generally considered a symbol of death and misfortune, while the Black Witch Moth is particularly considered an omen of bad fortune. In the Philippines, a black butterfly fluttering around a specific individual signifies that a relative of that person has recently died.

In Mexico, the Black Witch Moth is called the Mariposa de la Muerte, or butterfly of death. It goes by the name Duppy Bat, meaning lost soul, in Jamaica and Sorciére Noire, or dark sorcerer, in the Caribbean islands. This nocturnal insect is the literal embodiment of a witch in parts of the Caribbean. The appearance of the moth signifies a curse.

Not all legends about the Black Witch Moth are negative, however. In the Hawaiian culture, the moth is the soul of a recently deceased person who has come to say a final goodbye. These moths are known as Moneybats in parts of the Bahamas and are believed to attract material wealth.