Updated as per "Systematics of moths in the genus Catocala (Lepidoptera, Erebidae) IV.
Nomenclatorial stabilization of the Nearctic fauna, with a revised synonymic check list";
ZooKeys 39: 37–83 (2010) by Lawrence F. Gall, David C. Hawks; March 21, 2010
Updated as per personal communication with Ricky Patterson (Catocala myristica; Black Belt Ecological Region); April 1, 2017
The list probably contains several omissions. It will be updated and refined as sighting data arrives over the years. Please send images with dates and collecting locales (including county) to Bill Oehlke.
As of April 4, 2010, this page has been further updated as per research data compiled by Larry Gall.
I would like to continue to refine the listings to county levels so images and data (date, location at least to county level,
bait, lights) would be very much appreciated. Please send same to Bill Oehlke.
All images that I use on my websites remain the property of respective photographers and images are credited as such.
I would like to continue to refine the listings to county levels so images and data (date, location at least to county level, bait, lights) would be very much appreciated. Please send same to Bill Oehlke. All images that I use on my websites remain the property of respective photographers and images are credited as such.
The Identification Keys Diagram should help you understand the terminology I have used in describing the various species.
Visit Mississippi Sphingidae: Hawk Moths/Sphinx Moths
Little Yellow-Orange Underwings: Wingspans: 35-45mm
Little Yellow-Orange Underwings: Wingspans: 35-56mm
** 8876 Catocala micronympha, the Little Nymph Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). John Himmelman image. Usual specimens have grey forewings shaded with green, brown, black and white tints. Usually a darkened band passing from costa through reniform spot to outer margin. High variability. Full size Joe Garris photo of C. micronympha form hero.
** 8876 Catocala micronympha form gisela, the Little Nymph Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). The usual specimens have grey forewings shaded with green, brown, black and white tints. There is usually a darkened band passing from the costa through the reniform spot to the outer margin. Form "gisela" Meyer has a forewing that is mostly black. Leroy Simon image.
** 8876 Catocala micronympha form hero, the Little Nymph Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). The usual specimens have grey forewings shaded with green, brown, black and white tints. There is usually a darkened band passing from the costa through the reniform spot to the outer margin. Form "hero" H. Edwards has a median area that is mostly white. Joe Garris image.
** 8876 Catocala micronympha form lolita, the Little Nymph Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). Form "lolita" Sargent has very dark forewings.
Harold J. Vermes image, used with permission from his son.
** 8876 Catocala micronympha form sargenti, the Little Nymph Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). Usual specimens have grey forewings shaded with green, brown, black and white tints. Usually a darkened band passing from costa through reniform spot to outer margin. Form "sargenti" Covell (very rare) has hw all black.
Catocala mira; Wonderful Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm: Fw pale basal area distinguishes mira from blandula (dark brown), crataegi (black). Fw lacks dark contrasting lines of crataegi and blandula. Considerable brown in subterminal area and subreniform spot is very conspicuous and usually brown. A light area runs obliquely from costa to subreniform spot. Noticeable space along inner margin between am and pm lines. Hw deep orange and has complete inner black band. Outer black band unbroken. Tim Dyson image.
** 8867 Catocala blandula;
Charming Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm.
** 8858 Catocala crataegi; as subspecies 1; Hawthorn Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm Determination is based on dark (black) shading in forewing basal area continuing along inner margin to anal angle and brown shading beyond postmedial line. Definite greenish cast to median area. Lower wing has outer black band, broken near anal angle, distinguishing crataegi from blandula.
** 8772 gracilis; Graceful Underwing, wingspan 40-45mm.
Gracilis closely resembles sordida but the hindwing loop is not complete in gracilis as it is in sordida. Gracilis also tends to have a darker inner margin and there is frequently (99% of the time, Dale Schweitzer, via Joe Garris), but not always, a basal dash. Sordida never has the basal dash.
** 8877 connubialis, Connubial Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). Fw highly variable, several different forms: "sancta" Hulst: typical form: fws with white ground colour, sharply contrasting black lines, markings. Brown shading between postmedial and subterminal lines; "cordelia" H. Edwards: coloured as above, markings faint; "pulverulenta" Brower: grey-green fws, faint markings, sometimes none; "broweri" Muller: melanic form; fws dark green, almost black. Hw has separate anal spot, outer band ends with straight cut. Leroy Simon image.
** 8864 Catocala grynea ; Woody Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm
The forewing is a dull greenish grey with orangey-brown shading along the inner margin. The antemedial, median and postmedial lines are quite faint. Praeclara is somewhat similar but has a break in the brown shading between the am and pm lines. Praeclara also has a paler orange hindwing color. Tim Dyson image.
** 8860 lincolnana, Underwing, (wingspan: 40-50mm). Fws pale grey-brown with distinct dark curve running from costa along antemedial line to im, advancing to anal angle. Hw inner black band forms complete loop, outer black band broken and followed by dot. unconfirmed
** 8865 praeclara; Praeclara Underwing, (40-50mm); The forewing is a pale greenish-grey with considerable contrasting brown shading beyond post medial line.
There is a black basal dash very close to the inner margin and another dash, higher up in the median area.
Note the contrasting shapes of the reniform and subreniform spots. Tim Dyson image.
** 8772 clintoni; Clinton's Underwing, wingspan 45-55mm.
The black basal dash distinguishes clintoni from illecta and abbreviatella, both of which lack the dash.
Vernon Brou image.
**8878 Catocala praeclara charlottae; Charlotte's Underwing; The upper half of the am line is dark, thick and oblique, and turns in a slightly obtuse angle to the inner margin in a straight line. The pm line is black, thin, but distinct, with a single pronounced "tooth". The reniform spot sggests a figure eight and the subreniform spot is closed but cnnected to the pml with a weak line.
Catocala pretiosa texarkana
Texas-Arkansas Underwing; 40-50mm;
The median area is quite light with a wide whitish band paralleling the antemedial line from the costa almost to the
inner margin. The subreniform spot is distinctly brown.
** 8845 messalina, Messalina Underwing, (wingspan: 40-45mm).
The forewing is a plain, dull, grey-green, darkening toward the outer margin.
The hindwing is like that of the false underwing, having no inner black band. The outer band is quite wide.
** 8774 muliercula; Little Wife Underwing, 54-70mm. The black bands of the hindwings tend to be very wide and there is considerable dark scaling along the inner margins. Hw fringe is very dark as is the general reddish-brown ground colour of the forewings.
The forewing apex is preceded along the costa by a lighter, grey-brown patch.
Steve Walter image.
** 8857 Catocala ultronia; Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm.
Fws typically gray-brown, with a distinct and very dark inner margin and characteristic light brown patch, underscored by very dark arc, near wingtip. Underwings can be yellow to orange to salmon.
** 8857 Catocala ultronia form lucinda; Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm.
In form lucinda most of the forewing is bright grey.
On all forms there is
extensive orange-salmon colouration on hw ventral surface,
and there is a dark discal lunule.
Catocala ultronia, form nigrescens, Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm. Melanic form nigrescens: dorsal forewing very dark. Even darker subapical arc, basal dash & dash near anal angle still visible. Dark basal hairs on hindwing. Harold J. Vermes slide, used with permission from his son.
Catocala ultronia form celia.
In form celia there is a wide, light grey band separating a dark region along inner margin and
a dark patch near the apex.
The ventral surface of forewings of all forms has a generous suffusion
of orange-salmon scales in the lower half of the median area.
** 8779 serena Serene Underwing. Head, collar & abdomen brown; thorax grey. Am & pm lines thin but very dark & distinct on an otherwise drab, almost uniformly olive-grey forewing. Black marginal band of lower wings indented at center, and the relatively narrow, deep yellow median band parallels this indentation. Basal hairs brown. Catocala serena courtesy of Carroll Rudy, July 28, Calumet County, Wisconsin.
#8795 Catocala palaeogama ; wingspan: 60-70mm. Subreniform spot closed, does not approach pm line, is smaller than in C. habilis. All forms have characteristic orange, heavily barred fringe to apex, and irregular bands on hws. Hw basal median area heavily suffused with dark brown to black scales. Dark bar in outer half of median area, paralleling i. m. halfway between i. m. and light, closed subreniform spot. Joe Garris photo.
#8795 Catocala palaeogama form phalanga; wingspan: 60-70mm. In this form, fw basal area and subterminal area are very dark against a much lighter background. Dark bar in the outer half of the median area, paralleling the inner margin halfway between the inner margin and the light, closed subreniform spot is especially evident. Joe Garris image.
** 8770 Catocala innubens; Betrothed; 55-72mm. Fw mottled with white, grey & brown, & subrenifrom spot tends to be lighter in colour, although sometimes obscured by an indistinct blackish bar running from middle of basal/thorax connection to just below much lighter apex at outer margin. Jim Vargo image.
** 8770 Catocala innubens form scintillans; Betrothed; 55-72mm.
In form scintillans most of the basal area (all but lower third) and all of the median area of the forewing is dark reddish brown. The area outside the pm line is grey.
Vernon A Brou image.
** 8851 Catocala coccinata; Scarlet; wingspan: 57-70mm: Usually diffuse basal & anal dashes on otherwise light grey, mottled fw. Hw fringe white (often with some salmon scaling) & heavily checked. "Tooth" just below pair of very elongated "teeth" is much reduced & quite rounded, usually allowing considerable room for lighter patch of scales. Dark bar crosses thorax. Reniform spot tends be to light, often with greenish cast. Joe Garris image.
Catocala delilah; 58-65; The forewing is gray-brown with prominent black antemedial and postmedial lines. The hindwing is yellow-orange, with a narrow inner black band which reaches the inner margin. There is a large yellow spot at the apex, and the fringe is faintly barred. The underside of the wings is deep yellow with black bands.
** 8772 Catocala consors WO; Consort, wingspan: 70mm plus. Fw with irregular am and pm narrow black lines. Dark patch outside the reniform and subreniform spots. The orange-yellow hindwing pm band tends to be narrow and irregularly zigzagged. Sometimes the band is wider and slightly less irregular. James K. Adams image.
Catocala muliercula; Little Wife Underwing; Dark, distinct upper half am line runs obliquely toward anal angle, turns in two lobes to im; basal area dark brown; inner brown kidney shaped reniform spot, oulined in black then light then black again; open, lighter subreniform spot with light area from it to costa; median area greyish-blue-brown; subterminal area brown; terminal area greyish-blue-brown; lighter patch at apex. Hw dark bands thick, much dark scaling in basal area covering 2/3, joining inner black band to im.
Magdalen Underwing, 60-70mm;
The forewing pattern and colouration is much like that of concumbens,
pale grey with faint black lines.
Solid Black Underwings: Smallest to Largest, Similar Species Paired
miranda, Miranda Underwing; 37-45mm; Fw: plain pale grey with very light and fine black lines, darker and wider near costa. Hw black with white fringe at the apex, turning to grey along the outer margin. Miranda is smaller than look-alike orba and miranda also has a dark bar just above the inner margin in the median area, projecting toward the anal angle.
orba, Orba Underwing; 40-45mm; unconfirmed; The forewing is a uniform grey with light lines and poorly defined spots. The hindwing underside is completely black. The hindwing fringe is unbroken and slightly off white, somewhat grey. Note absence of any dark bar in the median-subterminal area, paralleling the inner margin, near anal angle.
Catocala andromedae, Gloomy Underwing, (wingspan: 40-50mm). Black underwings and dark grey fringe of hws, coupled with dark i.m. of fws help to identify this species. There is also a very dark "flying saucer" shape, adjoining subreniform spot to midpoint of am line. The "teeth" of pm line short and blunt, outwardly edged with white. Subterminal line is also outwardly edged with white.
** 8781 judith, Judith's Underwing, 45-55mm; one of smaller "black" underwings. Fw uniform light grey with thin, only slightly darkened antemedial, median & pm lines. No darkened dashes (slight anal dash) or transverse lines. Reniform area slightly darkened while the area just before the subterminal line is a bit lighter. Note absence of hw white fringe. Joe Garris photo.
** 8782 Catocala flebilis, yes; Mournful, wingspan: 54-65mm. Diffuse black band runs from basal area to outer margin just below apex, interrupted by pale grey subreniform spot. Reniform spot is filled with brown; there is additional brown outside postmedial line. No anal dash as there is in angusi. The hindwings have white fringe. J. K. Adams image.
Catocala epione , yes;
Epione Underwing, wingspan: 55-65mm
John Himmelman image.
Residua Underwing, yes, (wingspan: 58-73mm),
Distinguished from C. obscura by grey hindwing
fringe of residua.
C. obscura has white to off-white fringe, tends to be
less common in northern portions of its range. Fw
subterminal line/area of C. residua tends to be pale as
is its open, elongated subreniform spot.
ulalume; Ulalume Underwing; 62-75mm; ; The forewing colouration is a mottled light to dark grey with no strongly contrasting lines, dashes or bars. At the inner margin the antemedial line ends with in a very light coloured crescent. The subrenifrom spot is also light coloured and "comma" shaped. The hindwing is black and the fringe is pure white with thin, sharp (pointed) checking.
Catocala luctuosa, Underwing, (wingspan: 70mm). Fw light grey (yellowish tint) clearly marked with a basal dash that continues with another dash through the am line, followed by another anal dash almost forming bar parallel to im. Hw fringe white, lightly barred at veins. Fw pml "teeth" elongated and dark, continuing dark dar emanating from om just below apex.
Catocala dejecta; Dejected; wingspan 56-73mm. Pale grey patch from reniform and subreniform juncture to costal margin is diagnostic. Note open, light "pork chop" shape of subreniform spot. Two "teeth" in pml above subreniform spot are relatively short and blunt. Upper portion of aml thick and black; lower half has light rounded lobes outlined in black. Hw fringe is white with black wing veins extending like "teeth".
** 8784 obscura; the Obscure Underwing, (wingspan: 60-72mm), has dull, grey forewings, usually void of any significant dashes, streaks, providing for easy identification. Am, median and pm lines faint and subterminal line region is only slightly paler than rest of fw. Hw fringe is off-white, lightly checked on veins. Joe Garris photo.
Catocala retecta; wingspan: 60-75mm. Note light coloured, elongated and open subreniform spot which interrupts dark, diffuse ark running through center of wing from basal area (body-wing juncture) to fw apex. Center of reniform spot brown and there is a brown area just below costa running to inner margin just outside pm line. Off-white hindwing fringe only lightly checked along wing veins. Joe Garris image.
** 8783 Catocala angusi
WO; Angus' Underwing, 60-74mm.
** 8783 Catocala angusi WO; Angus' Underwing, 60-74mm; Dark dashes/streaks in basal & anal areas. Reniform spot: light brown filling. Hw fringe black except for white region at apex. Form lucetta has broad black band from basal area to om, broken only by reniform & subreniform spots. James K. Adams image.
** 8791 Catocala insolabilis; Inconsolable, 65-75mm; Fw: light grey with blackish shading along inner margin. Am & Pm lines: thin. Hw fringe very narrow and grey, becoming whiter toward apex. Ventral surface clearly distinguishes insolabis, being almost completely black except for some white in basal area.
** 8794 Catocala lacrymosa; Tearful Underwing, 60-82mm. Fw: highly variable with mixture of black, brown (wing tips and outside postmedial line) and dark grey scaling. Usually whitish crescents, along inner margin at base of antemedial and postmedial lines. Hindwings: black with white checkered fringe, turning black near the anal angle. There are several different forms.
Tearful Underwing, 60-82mm.
Form paulina: lighter grey post median area & area along and parallel to inner margin, in sharp contrast to
darker basal median areas.
Tearful Underwing, 60-82mm.
Tearful Underwing, 60-82mm.
Catocala sappho; Sappho Underwing; 60-75mm; MB. Fw: white with some grey-black-brown peppering and yellow-beige lines. The reniform spot is brown and the subreniform spot is almost pure white; the hindwings are black with a white fringe.
** Catocala myristica; slightly smaller than robinsonii, myristica has a browner cell spot and a darker bottom line on the longest extension of the pm line near the inner margin. Probably only in Black Belt on nutmeg hickory
** Catocala myristica; slightly smaller than robinsonii, myristica has a browner cell spot and a darker bottom line on the longest extension of the pm line near the inner margin. Dark bar very prominent but does not intrude on cell mark, nor present along inner edge of reniform spot. Also note absence of upper black line inside reniform spot.
** 8780 Catocala robinsonii; 70-80mm. Fws relatively plain pale grey. Female has basal dash, absent in male. Currata French, 1882, female form: weak basal dash. Rare form missouriensis Schwarz, 1915: dark, broad bar extending from basal area to o.m. just below apex. Lighter grey rnfm, subrnfm spots break bar in missouriensis, found from PA. to FL. Hw fringe: White; bands on ventral surface prominent.
** 8780 Catocala robinsonii; 70-80mm. Barred form very similar to Catocala myristica but note very thin pm line from costa to inner margin. In myristica line thickens along lower edge of longest "loop" near inner margin. Note presence of upper black line inside reniform spot.
** 8792 Catocala vidua; Widow; 70-80mm. Fw ground colour light grey. Distinguishing dark arc runs through top of reniform spot to just below apex. Heavy, dark anal and basal dashes, connecting to dark median bar, running parallel to i. m. Am line thick, black in its upper half. Reniform spot with two almost concentric irregular ovals. Subreniform spot light, open, constricted as it meets pm line. Hw black with broad, white fringe, lightly interrupted.
Catocala atocala, Atocala Underwing, (wingspan: approximately 70-75mm). Similar to agrippina, but reniform is more clearly defined in atocala. Closed subreniform of atocala may be open or closed in agrippina. Distinct basal dash of agrippina females is nearly absent in atocala females. Hw undersurface white areas on agrippina are beige on atocala. Hw bulge (discal spot) on atocala, is not present on agrippina.
Catocala agrippina 75-85mm; In the male, the fws are grey-black with some reddish brown (distinguishing characteristic); am and pm lines are black, darker toward costa, much lighter near inner margin. Reniform is indistinct and brown; sub-reniform is almost obsolete, but lighter than surrounding areas. Hws are black, with greyish hairs at base and im. Fringe is white, only partly cut with black at terminations of veins.
** 8793 Catocala maestosa, Sad Underwing, 78-98mm. Quite similar to, although usually larger than, vidua. Both have dark arc from costa, above reniform spot, to outer margin just below apex. Maesotsa, however, lacks dark bar, found on vidua, parallel to inner margin. Reniform spot: brown; there is brown shading just outside postmedial line. Hw fringe white, narrow and heavily barred.
Large Black Underwings (Banded): Wingspans: 70-80mm
** 8803 Catocala relicta
Forsaken, White, Relict; 70-80mm:
Considerable variation with regard to black/white
concentrations on fws.
** 8803 Catocala relicta ; Forsaken, White, Relict; 70-80mm: Considerable variation with regard to black/white concentrations on fws. Form clara: basal and subterminal areas predominantly white.
Typical specimens have basal and subterminal areas with blackish scales. Black hws, with brilliant even white inner band and white fringe, are distinctive. June until October.
** 8803 Catocala relicta ; Forsaken, White, Relict; 70-80mm: Considerable variation with regard to black/white concentrations on fws. Form phrynia: evenly dusted with grey over entire forewing. Typical specimens have basal and subterminal areas with blackish scales. Black hws, with brilliant even white inner band and white fringe, are distinctive. June until October, poplars and willows
** 8801 Catocala ilia; Ilia; wingspan: 65-82mm. Several different forms, most have characteristic white area in and around reniform spot. Diffuse dark arc running from this spot to just below apex. Subreniform spot squarish, concave inner and outer edges and elongated constriction connecting it to pml. White dots near fw om in character with the overall "contrasting" appearance.
** 8801 Catocala ilia; Ilia; form conspicua
In this form the entire reniform spot is heavily suffused with white scaling on an otherwise darker ground colour. Hence the form name "conspicua".
Tim Dyson image.
** 8801 Catocala ilia; Ilia; form satanas
In this melanic form the entire forewing, including the reniform spot is very dark. Hence the form name "satanas".
The dark basal streak is still evident on this form.
Tim Dyson image.
** 8801 Catocala ilia; Ilia; form normani
In this semi-melanic form the entire forewing, excluding the reniform spot, is relatively dark. The brownish, kidney-shaped center of the reniform spot is outlined in white.
The basal streak and subapical arc are still visible.
Tim Dyson image.
** 8857.1 Catocala umbrosa; mm; Double brown am line, inward line fainter, filled with off white; reniform spot brown center outlined in black , off white and black again; subreniform, large, pale brown, closed. Pm line wit htwo elongated upper teeth, next tooth reduced, next two progressively longer, rounded, final lobe rounded and shorter. HW with dark scaling/hairs in basal median area along im
** 8771 Catocala piatrix ; Penitent, wingspan: 68-84mm. Fw: light-colored band/bar extending from light coloured, triangular subreniform spot along am line to costa. Brown, kidney-shaped reniform spot surrounded in pale grey, outlined in black, usually with distinct black along wing veins in a dark area outside the reniform spot. Hw: fringe lightly barred; lighter in color than deeper orange on rest of wing.
** 8798 Catocala neogama; wingspan 70-85mm. Brown head, thorax, larger size as compared to C. palaeogama. Neogama tend to be slightly smaller than subnata, have darker grey brown fws with more pronounced markings. Examination of hind tibia needed for id. Neogama's: flattened, unevenly, sparsely spined; subnata's: cylindrical, spines dense, uniform in distribution. Joe Garris photo.
** 8797 Catocala subnata; Youthful Underwing: 75-90mm. Fws greyish white with blue-grey and light brown scales, usually with hws brighter yellow than those of neogama. Neogama usually have basal dash; absent in male subnata, but present in females. Magnification of hind tibia needed for id: subnata: cylindrical hind tibia; neogama: compressed or flattened hind tibia. subnata: ventral surface of tibia densely covered with evenly distributed spines; neogama: ventral surface of tibia sparsely covered.
Catocala nebulosa; 75-86mm; Moths have prominent dark brown upper-half-basal patch that extends to and ends at antemedial line. Apical area also tends to be brown, much darker than median area but not as dark as basal patch. The anal angle also has the darker brown scaling. The pm line is distinct near costa and inner margin, but becomes weak between the two. It meets inner margin in relative close proximity to am line. Closed subreniform spot is large and connects to the pm line via a thin line.
Medium-Large Pink Underwings: Wingspans: 70-95mm
** 8832 Catocala cara; Darling; wingspan 70-85mm. Note deep maroon almost purple cast to forewings, mixed with very pale green. Lower half of am and pm lines barely visible. No distinctive bars or dashes. Two upper "teeth" on pm line are thin, long. Hw bands pink. Heavy black checking on off-white hindwing fringe. The relatively thick black median band of the hindwing almost reaches the inner margin which is usually heavily adorned with dark hairs. Tim Dyson image. unconfirmed
** Catocala carissima; wingspan 70-85mm. Distinct light grey brown area at fw apex, preceded just inside pm line by slightly darker patch. Am and pm lines sharp and dark. Hw inner black band wide, complete, merges with extensive grey-black scaling along im. Hw fringe cream coloured.
** 8834 amatrix Sweetheart Underwing; (wingspan 75-95mm). Very skittish, frequently hides in caves, under bridges, under tree bark, etc. by day, resting with head down. Hw patterning and colouration similar to that of C. concumbens, but large size (wingspan 75-95mm) and dark bar running from basal area to just below apex distinguishes C. amatrix. See large Catocala amatrix courtesy of Joan F. Rickert.
** 8834 amatrix form selecta
Sweetheart Underwing; (wingspan 75-95mm)
** 8834 amatrix form hesseli
Sweetheart Underwing; (wingspan 75-95mm)
Return to Canadian Index
Return to Main Catocala Index
Visit "Systematics of moths in the genus Catocala (Lepidoptera, Erebidae) IV.
Nomenclatorial stabilization of the Nearctic fauna, with a revised synonymic check list";
ZooKeys 39: 37–83 (2010) by Lawrence F. Gall, David C. Hawks
Enjoy some of nature's wonderments, giant silk moth cocoons. These cocoons are for sale winter and fall. Beautiful Saturniidae moths will emerge the following spring and summer. Read Actias luna rearing article. Additional online help available.
Eggs of many North American Saturniidae species are offered during the spring and summer. Occasionally summer Actias luna and summer Antheraea polyphemus cocoons are available. Shipping to US destinations is done from within the US.
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Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.