Residing in west virginia, Mothman is depicted as:

  • Being 7 feet tall
  • Being nocturnal
  • Having red eyes (or at least appearing to)
  • Having wings
  • Being white in coloration
  • Having no obvious neck

Given these characteristics, what species could Mothman have evolved from, and what evolutionary pressures would lead to such a being?

NOTE: Magic does not exist in my story.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Doctor: here's the neck brace and avoid excessive weight lifting at late hours, get some rest and no worry your wings won't just disappear. $\endgroup$
    – user6760
    Feb 11, 2020 at 1:46
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Out of curiosity, do you mean west Virginia or West Virginia? $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Feb 11, 2020 at 4:39
  • $\begingroup$ Anyone else feel like what species would mothman have evolved from is opinion-based? Would "could have evolved from" work better? $\endgroup$
    – Zxyrra
    Feb 11, 2020 at 4:41
  • $\begingroup$ VTC: poor quality, as it's a copy-paste of other questions. Make this about your world or make it of use & interest to others! $\endgroup$
    – elemtilas
    Apr 18, 2020 at 20:16

4 Answers 4


A big hecking owl. In all seriousness, it seems that an owl could fulfill all of these criteria. being seven-foot tall could be a bit of a problem for flying, but Quetzalcoatlus the flying reptile was around 18 feet tall. owls are already nocturnal, some have orangeish red eyes, have wings, are sometimes white, and do not have obvious necks. it seems that a giant owl is an almost perfect fit for Mothman, which is a bit odd. they would likely eat deer or something of that elk (ilk, sorry for the bad pun). they would have to adapt a hunting strategy, as they cannot carry a deer away. they may have to defend their kill, which would lead to a large size being advantageous.

Edit: I just realized that trey the explainer said this as well.

  • 5
    $\begingroup$ Honestly mothman sightings really could have been just an unusually large great horned owl coupled with hysteria $\endgroup$
    – user71781
    Feb 11, 2020 at 1:49
  • $\begingroup$ yeah haha. That actually could be what caused the myth of mothman. $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2020 at 22:38
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    $\begingroup$ The largest owl in the fossil record was a little over 1m tall and spent most of its time on the ground, like some kind of wise night ostrich. $\endgroup$
    – Atog
    Oct 29, 2020 at 2:32


Red eye? - Albinism
White skin? - Albinism
Nocturnal? - Photosensitivity
No neck? - Genetic disorder

Everything, apart from wings, are part of being ....


With the brows big like moth antennae, spiky ears and long fingers.

And they were all based on european nobles who, thanks to generations of inbreeding, produced this outcome in their offspring. Hence pale nobles and their blue blood visible through paper white thin skin.

wing scould be easily explained with very long, light reflecting clothes that keep person from light, kind like this


Easy to make (or steal from dryiers) with abundance of cloth to cover yourself with, loose so won't irritate delicate skin.


I would like to posit that this Mothman evolved from a bat. If it's white, it's likely adapted to live in snow, so it might be from the Appalachian Mountains nearby. Red eyes, AFAIK, are not uncommon in bats. Bats have wings, and are nocturnal already.

As for why this thing is so big, that means it's evolved to hunt larger prey-- like people sized prey.



A mothman is basically a reptoid. The White reptoids with wings are the more advanced/high status kind and are deferred to by the regular unwinged, green reptoids. The implication is that the wings are largely decorative or for display, possibly vestigial from evolution on a lower-gravity world. (BTW, not making this up. this is 'cannon' for alien conspiracy folks). Other people suggest the wings are a kind of cloak or cape and denote status. I have these in a high-tech story line, and there they are either telekinetic and use wings for steering or else they use flight packs to compensate. Reptoids feed off psychic fear and emotion and terrorizing people at night lends itself well to this. A non-psychic rational is that wings and white skin make them visually obvious and they come out at night to avoid detection.


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