Moth Menace

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These are eyes. But not its own...

Moths, despite being linked to the Pretty Butterflies, are often seen as a bad omen. But sometimes, they are more than simply a sinister symbol announcing some kind of threat: they are the threat.

Just like any other Big Creepy-Crawlies, behemoths can be really scary: from up close, they look like any other giant insect and can induce nightmares to any entomophobe. Although they aren't necessarily giant, as some of the below examples prove.

They usually are attracted to light. If so, you'd better turn them off...

Butterflies themselves can appear as a menace, but this is less common since they are usually associated with beauty and grace rather than with the night and the occult.

Compare Macabre Moth Motif, in which these creatures are only used as sinister symbols instead of dealing the pain themselves. Nothing to do with Wallet Moths, nor with Butterfly of Doom or Schrödinger's Butterfly. If they're far larger than insects have any right to be, then they're also an example of Big Creepy-Crawlies.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mothgaba, in Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, is a gigantic moth that attacks Cappy Town with a strange pollen which causes strong hay fever to everybody in town. It turns out it came from the Southern Islands and was enraged after the Island Sisters, which sang its favourite song to it while it was a caterpillar, were abducted, and their rescue calmed it down. They then all returned to the Southern Islands together.

    Comic Books 
  • The Simpsons: Bart manages to make a fake newspaper informing all about the dangers of a giant moth in Springfield, which thanks to this being Springfield, everyone believes, resulting in the entire town shutting themselves indoors. Then Professor Frink builds a giant robot to kill the non-existent giant moth...

    Comic Strips 
  • One Garfield strip has Garfield rudely smacking a butterfly away, only to have it calling out to his father, which is a gigantic butterfly with spots shaped like tough anchor tattoos on its wings, probably getting ready to beat the orange cat up.

    Fan Works 
  • The Pokédex fanfiction fleshes out how dangerous Dustox poison is. According to it, a sizable chunk of Hoenn's population was flat-out decimated when streetlights were invented, because Dustox would gather en masse and saturate the air with poisonous dust scattered from their flapping wings. The resulting uproar of scared citizens, thinking it was a result of the wrath of the gods instead of mere poisoning, had all the streetlights smashed, and to this day, Hoenn remains very paucily lit because of the trauma this deadly fragment of history inflicted to it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Subverted with the Kaiju Mothra, from the Godzilla franchise. While she sometimes brings quite the destruction in her wake, she is almost always painted as a benevolent entity which protects her land, Japan or even the Earth.

    Folklore 

    Literature 
  • In Phantoms, one of the forms taken by the Enemy is a giant moth (1-2 feet long with a 3-4 foot wingspan). When first encountered, it beats on a window of a building the protagonists are in. Later on, it attacks one of them and literally eats his face off, leaving behind a fleshless skull.
  • The slake-moths of Perdido Street Station are horrifically deadly Animalistic Abominations: they feed on the minds of sapient beings via Orifice Invasion, leaving them Empty Shells; their hypnotic wings sedate anyone who looks at them; and they have Nigh-Invulnerability due to their bodies extending across multiple planes of existence. The Mayor of New Crobuzon tries to make a Deal with the Devil when five of them hatch in his city. Hell is too afraid of them to accept.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the Gloomwing is a large moth-like creature from the Plane of Shadow that hunts for creatures to use as incubators for its larvae.
  • In Gamma World, mutated giant moths can be deadly opponents to Player Characters.
    • The blaash is a 1 meter long carnivorous moth that gives off high intensity radiation in a five meter radius. The radiation can kill or mutate characters.
    • Module GW6 Alpha Factor introduces the blaasut, a giant moth that looks like the blaash. Anyone near a heat source (such as a campfire) at night may be attacked by a blaasut's battering wings.

    Video Games 
  • In The Breach, one of the more annoying enemies are human heads that fly with giant butterfly wings at just the right angle to avoid being shot before hitting you. The Big Bad also uses a lot of butterfly imagery, resembling Cthulhu with butterfly wings.
  • In Dark Souls, the Moonlight Butterfly is a gigantic and mysterious butterfly with magical abilities encountered as a boss in Darkroot Garden and a Degraded Boss in Crystal Caves. Not much is known about this mysterious creature.
  • In Devil May Cry 2, Dante and Lucia encounter an enormous moth-like demon called Noctpteran. It doesn't attack directly, but the eggs it lays hatch into larvae that keep trying to eat them.
  • Despite their name, the Wasp line of enemies that appears in Epic Battle Fantasy has only the first one looking like a wasp. The others look more and more like severely mutated butterflies as the game goes on.
  • Kirby Star Allies reveals that the seemingly innocuous butterfly that has appeared in every game intro for the past few years has the ability to merge with Galacta Knight to create the fearsome Morpho Knight.
  • The Legend of Zelda series:
    • The Mothulas are humongous, very colourful moth enemies that appear in several games. The first one appears as the boss of Skull Woods in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past. They also appeared as the boss of the Poison Moth's Lair in Oracle of Seasons, the miniboss of the Forbidden Woods in The Wind Waker and the miniboss of the Forest Temple in Spirit Tracks.
    • In The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, moths can be found throughout the Woodfall Temple. They swarm around stationary torches and are harmless... at first. Once you light a Deku Stick to turn it into a torch they'll follow the fire and hurt you. The only way to escape them is to put out your torch, although if you move fast enough you can outrun them to a certain extent and minimize the damage. Odolwa can also summon a swarm of these.
  • Mega Man:
    • Morph Moth from Mega Man X2 is a humanoid robot moth who occupies a robot scrapyard and uses broken machine parts to turn himself from a larva form into his full moth form. He can also manipulate those machine junks to attack.
    • In Mega Man Zero 3, robotic moths appear in Cubit Foxtar's level as enemies. They usually appear in darkened rooms, in which you can choose to turn on the light (by powering up the generator), causing them to move towards the light instead of swarming you.
  • The vibrant Rock Moth and their relatives in Miitopia are giant moths approximatively the size of a Mii which bear stolen Mii facial features. A Rock Moth is the first enemy the player character actually sees in the game.
  • The Vehemoth Phosbat in Pikmin 3 is a bioluminescent half-moth half-bat creature which dwells in dark caverns. When not exposed to light, it is completely intangible, and proves to be a very serious threat. It even ate the Koppai team leader Charlie at the start of the game.
  • Pokémon:
    • Dustox and Venomoth both are poisonous moth Pokémon which are known for scattering around highly poisonous dust when flying.
    • Volcarona , on the other hand, is a monstrous flaming moth which scatters burning flames while flapping its wings.
    • The butterfly-like Pokemon Beautifly is cute, vibrant... and sucks its preys bodily fluids with its long rostrum. It is also highly aggressive.
  • The Giant Moth in Resident Evil 2, as well as the smaller Moths from Resident Evil – Code: Veronica are both poisonous enemy moths that were the result of failed experiments.
  • In Silent Hill, Floatstinger is a giant moth boss with, as its name implies, a big stinger on its abdomen, which it uses to skewer the player. It can also spew poison. It's design is reminiscent of the Bombyx mori ("Mori" meaning "death" in Latin).
  • When sailing near the Ragged Crow Lighthouse in Sunless Sea, turn off your lights. The area is haunted by the monstrous Tyrant-Moths which are attracted to the lighthouse's bright lights. They are bigger than the player's ship, and can deal a staggering 30 damages to the player's hull when attacking. Thankfully, they aren't found near the lightships, the light buoys or the perpetually lit Varchas.

    Web Animation 
  • According to this ASDF Movie, at least one poor man had to deplore the stealing of his wife by a tiny butterfly...

    Western Animation 
  • Space Ghost episode "The Sorcerer". The title villain sends a giant Quadro Moth to capture Space Ghost. It has Eye Beams that neutralize Space Ghost's Invisibility power and it can shoot a long tentacle out of its head to wrap up an opponent.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In Night Light, SpongeBob and Patrick fill Spongebob's house with an unholy amount of nightlights and other various light sources (like a searchlight and even a lighthouse). As a result, the entire house emits a very strong light that attracts the Moth, the most dangerous archnemesis from Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy. Don't underestimate his less-than-behemothic size: he is powerful enough to lift Spongebob's entire house plus the lighthouse all at once.
    • The episode "Wormy" is an interesting example, since it is not the titular butterfly that is dangerous or unusual per se, but the reaction everyone has when facing it. After taking care of a caterpillar for a day, SpongeBob and Patrick discover in the morning that Wormy disappeared and instead, they see a butterfly (keep in mind that the two are underwater creatures, so they are completely clueless when it comes to insect metamorphosis). They are convinced the butterfly is a friend-devouring monster (and the Gross-Up Close-Up of the creature is no helping matter) and go on warning the town about it, which sends the Bikini Bottomites in a frenzied panic which concludes with the town completely in ruins. Meanwhile, the only thing the adult Wormy does is fluttering aimlessly, like a normal butterfly would.
  • Teen Titans has villain Killer Moth who has many mutant moths as his henchbeasts. Silkie is the larval form of one such, but its mutation was forestalled by Starfire's love.

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