Catocala of Nebraska

Catocala habilis, Fontenelle Forest, Bellevue, Sarpy County, Nebraska,
August 10, 2012, courtesy of Loren J. Padelford.

Compiled by 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.

Many thanks to Loren J. Padelford who supplies the image of Catocala habilis at the top of the page. Prior to Loren's submission, I do not believe Catocala habilis had been recorded in Nebraska.

The Identification Keys Diagram should help you understand the terminology I have used in describing the various species.

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Little Yellow Underwings

**8878 Catocala amica; Girlfriend; wingspan: 35-40mm
The black postmedian band is absent from the dorsal (upper) surface of the hindwing, but it is present on the ventral surface. Moths come in to lights and to bait.

Catocala amica lineella is now (2010) elevated to full species status as Catocala lineella.
Maurice Bottos image.

** 8878.1 lineella; Little Lined Underwing; wingspan: 35-40mm. This species is without hw marginal black band. Fw subreniform spot is pale and boldy outlined with black. There is similar light brownish-gray patch in upper half of median area near pm line, and just between subreniform spot and am line there is similarly coloured light patch paralleling am lne. The reniform spot is dark, less distinct and in a generally darker area.

** 8874 Catocala minuta TM; Little Underwing, 35-45mm; Fw grey-brown, greatly widened, white, st line (near costa only). Hw outer black band unbroken, inner band in complete loop, brown scaling along im. "eureka" Schwarz: blackish area between am,pm lines; "hiseri" Cassino: dull grey fw, very faint markings; "mellitula" Hulst: blackish patch in basal area from costa to im; "obliterata" Schwarz: melanic form, almost completely black fw; "parvula" W. H. Edwards: broad dark patch along fw i. m..

** 8846 sordida; Sordid Underwing, wingspan: 37-45mm: Fw is lighter along costa and darker along inner margin. Dark medial lines are especially evident through lighter shades near costa. Outer black band of the hindwing is broken near the anal angle. I made the determination on the moth to the left based on dark scaling along the inner margin limited to median area and submarginal "teeth" relatively short and blunt. Tim Dyson image.

Little Yellow-Orange Underwings: Wingspans: 35-56mm
These tend to be slightly larger on average than preceding group.

** 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 a hindwing that is all black.

** 8877 connubialis, Connubial Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). Fw highly variable; several different forms: "sancta": typical form, fws with white ground colour and sharply contrasting black lines and markings. Brown shading between post medial and subterminal lines; "cordelia": coloured as above, markings faint; "pulverulenta": grey-green fws with faint markings, sometimes none; "broweri": melanic form with fws dark green, almost black. Hw: separate anal spot, outer band ends with a straight cut. Leroy Simon image.

Catocala mira; Wonderful Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm. Pale basal area of fw distinguishes mira from blandula (dark brown) and crataegi (black). Fw lacks dark contrasting lines of crataegi and blandula. Considerable brown in subterminal area and subreniform spot very conspicuous, usually brown. Light area runs obliquely from costa to subreniform spot. Noticeable space along i. m. between antemedial and postmedial lines. Hw deep orange and has a complete inner black band. The outer black band is unbroken Tim Dyson image.

** 8864 Catocala grynea ; Woody Underwing; 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.

** 8858 Catocala nuptialis TM; Married Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm

The reniform spot is very dark, black or almost black on an otherwise faintly marked, almost uniformly grey forewing. The outer black margin of the hindwing is unbroken, but is indented near the anal angle.
Jim Vargo image.

** 8843 whitneyi; Whitney's Underwing; 43-50mm. Catocala whitneyi is similar to abbreviatella Grote, and nuptialis Walker, but generally flies later in the season where the species overlap. The two black wedges/triangles on the forewing, one over the reniform spot and the other just outside the antemedial line, distinguish whitneyi. Gerald Fauske image.

** 8841 Catocala abbreviatella; Abbreviated Underwing; 40-50mm. Fw uniformly colored with narrow black lines on anterior half. Brown reniform spot ringed with black. Hw outer black band abbreviated and then continued with dot. Inner black band terminates well before im. Similar species: C. nuptialis solid black reniform spot. C. whitneyi broad dark triangles mid fw.

** 8844 amestris; Three-staff Underwing; wingspan 43-50mm.

There is a large pale patch near the apex. In form "westcotti" the hindwing outer black band is complete. In other moths, the band is broken as in abbreviatella. Hindwing ground colour is usually deeper yellow-orange than in similar species. Leroy Simon image.

Midsized Orange-Salmon-Red-Scarlet Underwings: Wingspans: 50-72mm

** 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, the Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm. In the melanic form nigrescens, the dorsal forewing is very dark. Even darker subapical arc, basal dash and dash near anal angle are 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. 55-60mm. Head, collar and abdomen are brown while thorax is grey. Am and pm lines are thin but very dark and distinct on an otherwise drab, almost uniformly olive-grey forewing. Black marginal band of the lower wings is indented at the center, and relatively narrow, deep yellow median band parallels this indentation. Basal hairs are brown. Catocala serena courtesy of Carroll Rudy.

#8778 Catocala habilis; wingspan: 55-65mm
Large "M" on thorax, "pork chop" shaped, light subreniform spot, constricted at juncture with pml. Pml narrow, dark, distinct, outwardly lined with narrow suffusion of white scales, followed by broader band of brown, then broader suffusion of white up to very regular dentation of sbtml line. Fw veins in pm area have grey, feathery appearance, against lighter background. Significant "bleeding" of yellow-orange-salmon scales into hw fringes. Large reniform spot: brown center, faintly edged in black, then white, then black again. Basal dash not always present.

Catocala habilis, Bellevue, August 10, 2012, Loren J. Padelford.

** 8770 Catocala innubens; Betrothed; 55-72mm. Forewing is mottled with white, grey and brown, and subrenifrom spot tends to be lighter in colour, although it is sometimes obscured by an indistinct blackish bar which runs 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.

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.

** 8808 luciana; Luciana Underwing, 57-68mm. Pale grey brown forewing with very distinct am & postmedial lines. Subreniform spot has elongated narrow "tail" that seems to open through postmedial line. Inner black band of hw does not reach inner margin. Fringe is checked and paler (almost yellow) than salmon ground colour.

** 8840 Catocala illecta; Magdalen Underwing, 60-70mm; The forewing pattern and colouration is much like that of concumbens, pale grey with faint black lines.
Hindwings are light yellow and the irregular inner black band terminates well before the inner margin. James K. Adams image.

** 8851 Catocala coccinata; Scarlet; wingspan: 57-70mm: There are usually diffuse basal and anal dashes on an otherwise light grey, mottled fw. Hw fringe is white (often with some salmon scaling) and is heavily checked. I find "tooth" just below pair of very elongated "teeth" is much reduced and is 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.

#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.

#8817 briseis; Briseis Underwing; 60-70mm; Fws predominantly mottled dark-grey-brown with some lighter areas 1) between postmedial & subterminal lines, 2) at base of am & pm lines along inner margin, 3) over subreniform spot running diagonally toward costa. Pm lines do not have greatly elongated and sharly pointed "teeth" near apex. Hw fringe white & unbroken, inner black band (fairly even) reaches inner margin. Tim Dyson image.

Solid Black Underwings: Smallest to Largest, Similar Species Paired

** 8773 Catocala epione , yes; Epione Underwing, wingspan: 55-65mm

The pm line is squared and has a brown band and then a light band just outside the line.

The hindwing is black with pure white fringe with no barring.
John Himmelman image.

Catocala residua, 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.
Devoid of significant markings except for hint of dark bar running from basal area through reniform spot to 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".

** 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. James K. Adams image.

** 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, wingspan: 65-75mm; Fw light grey with blackish shading along inner margin. Antemedial and postmedial lines are 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.
Vernon A. Brou image.

** 8794 Catocala lacrymosa; Tearful Underwing, 60-82mm. The forewing is highly variable with a mixture of black, brown (wing tips and outside postmedial line) and dark grey scaling. There are usually whitish crescents, along the inner margin at the base of the antemedial and postmedial lines.

The hindwings are black with white checkered fringe, turning black near the anal angle. There are several different forms.

** 8794 Catocala lacrymosa; 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.

** 8794 Catocala lacrymosa; Tearful Underwing, 60-82mm.

In form evelina there is a wide black band along the forewing inner margin.

** 8794 Catocala lacrymosa; Tearful Underwing, 60-82mm.

In form albomarginata there is an abundance of white scaling on the forewing.

Form "zelica", not shown, has black basal patch and st line.

** 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. Marie Winn image.

** 8793 Catocala maestosa, Sad Underwing, wingspan: 78-98mm. Maesotsa is quite similar to, although usually larger than, vidua. Both have the dark arc from the costa, above the reniform spot, to the outer margin just below the apex. Maesotsa, however, lacks the dark bar, found on vidua, parallel to the inner margin. The reniform spot is brown and there is brown shading just outside the postmedial line. The hindwing fringe is 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.
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 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

** 8802 Catocala cerogama; Yellow-Banded; 70-80mm. Several different forms. Pm line distinct, dark and has elongate pair of projections. Pm and am lines meet inner margin in relative proximity. Closed subreniform spot lighter than surrounding areas, shaped a bit like an arrowhead with point toward body. Hws are distinctive. Jean-Benoît Duval image.

** 8802 Catocala cerogama; Yellow-Banded; 70-80mm.

Form ruperti: Forewings are almost uniform grey-brown with white scales outlining subterminal line.

The hindwings are distinctive. Tim Dyson image.

** 8802 Catocala cerogama; Yellow-Banded; 70-80mm.

Form bunkeri: Forewings are dark in median and basal areas. Hw golden band is reduced in thickness. Basal hairs are brown instead of yellow.

The hindwings are distinctive. Tim Dyson image.

Large Orange-Salmon Underwings: Wingspans: 65mm, usually 70-95mm

** 8822 meskei TM; Meske's Underwing; 65-75mm. Fws less distinctly marked compared to unijuga, some red-orange at the hindwing apex and just inside the fringe along the outer margin in meskei that is lacking in unijuga. Fw subreniform spot is opened or connected to the postmedian line. The hindwing postmedian band nearly straight, turned in and tapering near anal angle. Tim Dyson image.

** 8821 semirelicta; Semirelict Underwing; wingspan: 65-75mm. Fw ground colour white with dark lines and shadings. Diffuse dark bar runs from center of basal area to outer margin a few mm above anal angle. Note regular dentation of st line. Inner black bar on lower wing usually terminates well before inner margin. The form "atala" has forewing that is uniformly grey. Unijuga is usually larger and has less contrasting black lines. Inner black bar on unijuga usually reaches inner margin. Tim Dyson image.

** 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.

Catocala junctura; Joined Underwing; 67-85mm. Fw is usually dark brownish-gray to evenly powdered blue-grey w/o significant markings. Doubled reniform spot often obscure. Thin, slightly darker am and pm lines run from costa to im, not widely spaced at im. Hw salmon/ orange-pink, narrow inner black band turns in sharply, does not meet dark-haired 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.

** 8806 Catocala parta; Mother Underwing, wingspan: 70-85mm. The black dashes in the basal, subapical and anal areas help to identify this species. The hindwings may be yellow to yellowish-orange but more often are salmon-red. Note the face-head-like markings on the thorax. In the hindwing, the first (nearest the apex) black protrusion into the white fringe is "noticeably" larger than the others.

** 8805 unijuga; Once-married; wingspan: 70-90mm: Catocala unijuga has a fairly wide black inner band (almost reaching inner margin) in hindwing and very distinctive patterning in forewing. Meskei tend to have narrower band and dustier (less distinct) looking forewing. Semirelicta tend to have inner bands that terminate well before inner margins. Also note the very white fringe on both the forewings and hindwings. Carroll Rudy image.

** 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

** 8833 concumbens Sleepy Underwing or Pink Underwing, 60-75mm). This brown thoracic collar is quite evident in this image as is the interruption in the pm line by the open subreniform spot.

The white hindwing fringe is only lightly checked on the wing veins. The vibrant pink bans are distinct in colour and also in their relatively smooth contour.

** 8832 Catocala cara; Darling; 70-85mm. Note deep maroon almost purple cast to fws, mixed with very pale green. Lower half of am & pm lines is barely visible. There are no distinctive bars or dashes. The two upper "teeth" on the pm line are thin and long.
The hindwing bands are pink. There is heavy black checking on the 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.

** 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)
Very skittish and frequently hides in caves, under bridges, under tree bark, etc. by day, resting with head down. Several forms, including selecta (to the left) which lacks dark bar on forewing. Hesseli: melanic form; pallida: very pale form.

** 8834 amatrix form hesseli Sweetheart Underwing; (wingspan 75-95mm)
Very skittish and frequently hides in caves, under bridges, under tree bark, etc. by day, resting with head down. The melanic form hesseli is very dark and displays dark basal hairs in the hindwing.

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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

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