South Dakota Catocala

Catocala amestris, Vermillion, Clay County, South Dakota,
46mm, July 30, 2008, courtesy of Tom Middagh.

Much of the information for this page is courtesy of Gerald Fauske for North Dakota. I expect this list will greatly expand over the years as more information becomes available.

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 Lori Balciunas who sends the following image. It is the first time I have seen a live luciana, and it is first time I have seen a Catocala visiting a hummingbird feeder.

Catocala luciana, Custer, Custer County, South Dakota,
July 30, 2014, courtesy of Lori Balciunas.

Visit Main Catocala Index: Checklists for all US states and all Canadian Provinces.

South Dakota Sphingidae: Hawkmoths

If you are travelling, you can find active Sphingidae checklists for all countries in North, Central and South America and the Caribbbean via the links at North, Central, South American Sphingidae checklists

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


Little Yellow-Orange Underwings: Wingspans: 35-45mm

**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.

** 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": blackish area between am & pm lines; "hiseri": dull grey fw, very faint markings; "mellitula": blackish patch in basal area from costa to im; "obliterata": melanic form, almost completely black fw; "parvula": broad dark patch along fw inner margin.

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.

** 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.

** 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.

** 8876 Catocala micronympha form lolita, 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, 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.

** 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.

** 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. subspecies manitoba Tim Dyson image.

** 8867 Catocala blandula; Charming Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm.
Pale basal area of fw distinguishes mira from blandula (dark brown) and crataegi (black). Fw has dark contrasting lines as in crataegi. There is also considerable brown in subterminal area and subreniform spot is very conspicuous and usually brown. A light area runs obliquely from the costa to the subreniform spot. hw is deep orange and has a complete inner black band. The outer black band is unbroken. Lynn Scott image.

Catocala mira; Wonderful Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm: Pale basal area of fw 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/ pm lines. Hw: deep orange and has complete inner black band. Outer black band is unbroken.

** 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.

** 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.

#8778 Catocala habilis; wingspan: 55-65mm
Large "M" on thorax, "pork chop" shaped, light coloured subreniform spot very dark in constriction at juncture with pml. Pml narrow, dark, distinct, outwardly lined with narrow suffusion of white scales, followed by broader band of brown scales, then broader suffusion of white scales up to very regular dentation of sbtml line. Significant "bleeding" of yellow-orange-salmon scales into hw fringes. Large reniform spot has brown center, faintly edged in black, then white, then black again.

#8817 briseis TM; Briseis Underwing; 60-70mm; Fws predominantly mottled dark-grey-brown with some lighter areas 1) between pm & subterminal lines, 2) at base of am & pm lines along im., 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.

#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.

#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.

** 8770 Catocala innubens TM; 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.

** 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.

** 8851 Catocala coccinata TM; Scarlet; 57-70mm. Usually diffuse basal & anal dashes on otherwise light grey, mottled forewing. Hw fringe white (often with some salmon scaling), heavily checked. "Tooth" just below pair of very elongated "teeth" much reduced & quite rounded, usually allowing considerable room for lighter patch. Dark bar crosses thorax. Reniform spot tends be to light, often with greenish cast.

Black Underwings

** 8791 Catocala insolabilis; Inconsolable, wingspan: 65-75mm; Fw light grey with blackish shading along inner margin. Am/pm 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.

** 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. There are usually whitish crescents, along inner margin at base of 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.

** 8780 Catocala robinsoni; 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.

** 8792 Catocala vidua; Widow; wingspan: 70-80mm. Fw ground colour light grey. Distinguishing dark 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 and black in its upper half. Reniform spot consists of two almost concentric irregular ovals. The subreniform spot is light, open, but constricted as it meets the pm line. Hw: black with broad, white fringe, only lightly interrupted.

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.

** 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.

** 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.

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; 65-75mm. Fw ground colour is 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 hw usually terminates well before the inner margin. The form "atala" has a forewing that is uniformly grey. Unijuga is usually larger and has less contrasting black lines. The inner black bar on unijuga usually reaches the inner margin.

** 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.

** 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.

Catocala luciana, Custer, Custer County, July 30, 2014, courtesy of Lori Balciunas

** 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.

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

** 8806 Catocala parta; Mother Underwing; 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.

** 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.

** 8805 unijuga; Once-married; wingspan: 70-90mm: Catocala unijuga: Fairly wide black inner band (almost reaching inner margin) in hw ; very distinctive patterning in fw. Meskei tend to have narrower band; dustier (less distinct) looking fw. Semirelicta tend to have inner bands terminating well before inner margins. Also note very white fringe on all wings.

** 8805 unijuga; Once-married; 70-90mm.

Form agatha has a much darker, evenly grey forewing. Hindwings have some darker hairs in basal area. Note very white fringe on both forewings & hindwings. June to october, willows

Catocala nebulosa; 75-86mm; Prominent dark brown upper-half-basal patch that extends to and ends at am line. Apical area also tends to be brown, much darker than median area but not as dark as basal patch. Anal angle also has 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: large; connects to pm line via thin line.

aholibah; 80-90mm: Fw: mix of grey/ brown, with preponderance of brown in subterminal area. Double reniform spot: diffuse brown outline of inner oval. Subreniform spot small, distinctly outlined in black, light coloured and does not connect to pm line. Upper two teeth of pml elongate; followed by relatively smooth line til next tooth below the subreniform spot. Hw salmon or pinkish.

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. 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 barely visible. No distinctive bars or dashes. Two upper "teeth" on pm line: thin, long. Hw bands: pink. Heavy black checking on off-white hindwing fringe. Relatively thick hw black median band almost reaches inner margin: usually heavily adorned with dark hairs.

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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: 3783 (2010) by Lawrence F. Gall, David C. Hawks

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