Catocala of Saskatchewan


Catocala briseis, Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada,
August 17, 2009, courtesy of Tim Taylor, Saskatchewan Collection.

There are not too many species indigenous to Saskatchewan so identification is relatively easy, but some of the willow/poplar feeders require very close examination.

Many thanks to Tim Taylor who has sent many images of live moths as well as images (recto and verso) of spread specimens with data: location, date and wingspan. He gets a great assortment of the willow/poplar feeders and cherry/choklecherry feeders, but is unlikely to see the oak feeders, Catocala ilia and Catocala coccinata from further south. Catocala sordida is a blueberry feeder; Catocala coelebs feeds on Myrica gale (sweet gale); Catocala cerogama feeds on Tilia species (lime/linden).

Thanks also to John K. who writes, "I live on a farm just N. of the village of Bjorkdale, approximately 275 kms (170 mi,) NNE of Regina, SK. & 125 kms (80 mi.) W. of the Manitoba border. I have been collecting leps (including Underwings) for many yrs. & have a fairly good representation of the Catocalas that occur in the immediate area of my farm yd. I've run B.L./M.V. traps/sheets and put out sugar bait for well over 25 yrs. (33 yrs. collecting bugs in general).

"I collected my first Catocalas on 08 Aug (late start due to unseasonably cold yr. right from spring through nonexsistent summer!) ... a single male each of C. unijuga & briseis. To date I have only collected two additional spp. In the last week... 2 only of C. semirelicta & 15-20 C. relicta. Conservatively I've probably observed around 200 individual specimens (90% C. unijugas!) of those 4 spp. (a good yr. up here... in a poor yr. I've seen less than a dozen specimens July-Oct.!); C. unijuga is definitely the most abundant, next is briseis, than relicta & lastly the semirelictas. Up here in central NE SK we don't have many spp. & I've only recorded a total of 8 throughout the yrs. Besides the 4 spp. mentioned above I've only collected a single specimen of C. parta; C. concumbens (6-8 only); C. blandula (Usually common & the first sp. to appear around mid July, but strangely completely absent the last 2 yrs.; a very rare sp. C. coelebs (6-8 specimens only at this location in SK & none within the last 5 yrs.). My specimens were identified by Lawrence Gall & are the farthest NW location known in N. Am.

"I have Ron Hooper's Catocala list & the only sp. not on your list is C. mira; keep in mind that C. junctura is tentative only & should be confirmed with Ron, himself."

I have updated the list to include Catocala mira, based on John's comments. Tim Taylor has added Catocala amatrix to the list.

Wingspan refers to the distance from wing tip to wing tip when the moths are spread with the inner margin of the forewing perpendicular to the body.

Those found in Saskatchewan are located in their respective groupings.

Updated as per Saskatchewan Conservation Data Centre. March 2010. Saskatchewan Invertebrate Species List. Regina, Saskatchewan, March 22, 2010. Catocala mira and Catocala coelebs are not on the SCDC list, and are therefore questionable in Saskatchewan. I am surprised at the listing of Catocala antinympha.


Little Yellow-Orange Underwings: Wingspans: 35-50mm

** 8846 sordida WO; Sordid Underwing;, 37-45mm.

Fw lighter along costa & darker along inner margin. Dark medial lines are especially evident through the lighter shades near the costa. The outer black band of the hindwing is broken near the anal angle. I made the determination on the moth to the right based on dark scaling along the inner margin limited to median area and submarginal "teeth" relatively short and blunt. Tim Dyson image.

** 8865 praeclara; Praeclara Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm. Fw 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. Upper of two larger pml teeth is longer, wider than lower tooth. Note double, white filled amls. Lighter, subcircular patch, outlined in black, brown on lower thorax.

Catocala praeclara, Regina, August 2008, Tim Taylor

** 8865 praeclara manitoba; Manitoba Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm
The forewing am line is black and distinct, oblique in its upper half and perpendicular to the inner margin in its lower half. There is a distinct, narrow, white, toothed subterminal band.
The hindwing loop is complete.

** 8867 Catocala blandula WO; Charming Underwing; 40-50mm. Fw pale basal area 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. The hindwing is deep orange and has a complete inner black band. The outer black band is usually unbroken.

Lynn Scott image.

Catocala blandula males (3), Lumsden, Saskatchewan, July 19, 2010, Tim Taylor.

** 8775 antinympha; Sweetfern Underwing, wingspan 45-55mm.: The very dark grey, almost black, forewing ground colour distinguishes antinympha. There is some brown shading in the subreniform spot and also just outside the postmedial line. The hindwing is amber to pale orange. There is also the form multoconspicua Reiff, 1919 with a pale, almost white subreniform spot. Tim Dyson image.


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

** 8776 badia coelebs; Old Maid Underwing, wingspan 54-56mm.

The gray region from the forewing pm line to the outer margin readily distinguishes this species. The fringe is gray on the lower wing from the brief orange dash at the hindwing apex to the anal angle.

Tim Dyson image. Questionable in Saskatchewan.


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.

Catocala ultronia, Regina, August 24, 2009, courtesy of Tim Taylor
Catocala ultronia, near Lumsden, July 25, 2010, courtesy of Tim Taylor.

Catocala hermia; Hermia Underwing: 58-68mm; pinkish: Fw almost uniform, grey-brown or clay coloured; thin, yet contrasting lines. Distinct large double reniform spot. Large concolourous subrenifrom spot usually open. Hw pinkish red, relatively even, narrow black bands. Inner black band ends before im. Fringe white, checked, pink/red "bleeding" along outer band, near apex.

Catocala hermia form vesta; Hermia Underwing: 58-68mm; pinkish: Fw almost uniform, very dark grey; thin, yet contrasting lines. Distinct large double reniform spot. Large concolourous subrenifrom spot usually open. Hw pinkish red, relatively even, narrow black bands. Inner black band ends before im. Fringe white, checked, pink/red "bleeding" along outer band, near apex.

#8817 briseis TT; 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.

Catocala briseis, Regina, August, 2008, Tim Taylor

** 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. Joe Garris image.


Large Black Underwings (Banded): Wingspans: 70-80mm

** 8803 Catocala relicta TT; Forsaken, White, Relict; 70-80mm. Considerable variation with regard to black/white concentrations on forewings. Form clara (depicted), has basal and subterminal areas predominantly white; form phrynia, is evenly dusted with grey over entire forewing. Typical specimens have basal & subterminal areas filled with blackish scales. Distinctive hws black with brilliant even white inner band and white fringe.

Catocala relicta, aproaching bait trap, Regina, August 17, 2009;
recto and verso, August 18, 2009, Tim Taylor

** 8802 Catocala cerogama; Yellow-Banded; 70-80mm. There are several different forms. The pm line is distinct, dark and has an elongate pair of projections. The pm and am lines meet the inner margin in relative proximity. The closed subreniform spot it lighter than surrounding areas, and it is shaped a bit like an arrowhead with the point toward the body. The hindwings 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 TT; 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.

Catocala meskei, Regina, August, 2008-09, Tim Taylor.
Catocala meskei, Regina, July 21, 2010, Tim Taylor.

** 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. 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.

** 8808 luciana; Luciana Underwing; 70-80mm. Luciana has pale grey brown fw with very distinct am & pm lines. Subreniform spot has elongated narrow "tail" that seems to open through postmedial line. Hw inner black band does not reach inner margin. Fringe is checked and paler (almost yellow) than salmon ground colour.

Catocala luciana m, Willow Bunch, N49 28.711 W105 39.186, Sept 26 2011, 22C
Catocala luciana f, Bengough, N49 30.268 W105 04.711, Sept 23 2011, 2311ft. 24C

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 run from costa to im and are not widely spaced at im. Hw salmon or orange-pink, narrow inner black band turns in sharply, does not meet dark-haired im, distinguishing it from unijuga. Gary Anweiler image.

** 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.

Catocala parta, Regina, August 12-25, 2008, courtesy of Tim Taylor.

** 8805 unijuga; Once-married; 70-90mm. Unijuga has fairly wide black hw inner band (almost reaching inner margin), dark hairs in basal-median area along hw im; very distinctive patterning in forewing. Meskei tend to have narrower band and dustier (less distinct) looking fw. 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.

Catocala unijuga form agatha, July 27, 2010, Regina, courtesy of Tim Taylor.

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

** 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.

Catocala amatrix female, 80 mm, Willow Bunch; N49 28.711 W105 39.186, Sept 26, 2011, 22C

** 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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