Catocala from Wisconsin

Catocala unijuga, courtesy of Carroll Rudy, Calumet County, Wisconsin,
August 26, 2006, id confirmed by Larry Gall.

The following checklist for Wisconsin was sent to me by Jeff Crolla. The list was compiled in 2000 (Ferge & Balogh).

I have rearranged the order, grouping by size and hindwing colour.

In most cases the hindwings can be viewed in the individual species files. They are sometimes diagnostic.

Many thanks to Carroll Rudy and Joan F. Rickert who have sent me images and data for Wisconsin counties.

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 sometimes treated as a subspecies; sometimes as a distinct species.

John Himmelman image.

** 8878.1 lineella; Little Lined Underwing; wingspan: 35-40mm. This species does not have marginal black band on hindwing. Forewing 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 antemedian line there is similarly coloured light patch paralleling am lne. The reniform spot is dark, less distinct and in a generally darker area. Form "curvifascia" has diffuse black-brown arc from the mid costa region toward mid outer margin. Tim Dyson image.

** 8874 Catocala minuta; Little Underwing, wingspan: 35-45mm. The fw is generally grey-brown with greatly widened (near costa only), white, st line. The outer black band of hw is unbroken and inner band forms complete loop with considerable brown scaling along inner margin. Several forms: "eureka" Schwarz has blackish area between am and pm lines; "hiseri" Cassino has dull grey fw with very faint markings; "mellitula" Hulst has blackish patch in basal area from costa to inner margin; "obliterata" Schwarz is melanic form, almost completely black fw; "parvula" W. H. Edwards has broad dark patch along fw inner margin. Steve Walter image.

** 8873 similis; Similar Underwing, wingspan: 35-45mm. The pale triangular patch from the postmedial line along the costa, pointed at the apex, and the light-coloured, tear-shaped reniform spot distinguish this species. The subreniform spot also projects considerably beyond the reniform anteriorally at a right angle to the line of the subreniform. Many specimens also have a small, light coloured, flattened oval spot about halfway between the pm and am lines at about the midpoint of the reniform spot. The pm line is almost straight for most of its length. Tim Dyson photo.

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

The forewing is lighter along the costa and darker along the 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.

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.
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.

There is high variability with this species. Full size Joe Garris photo of C. micronympha form hero.

** 8877 connubialis, Connubial Underwing, (wingspan: 35-50mm). The forewing is highly variable and there are several different forms: "sancta" Hulst is the typical form and has forewings with white ground colour and sharply contrasting black lines and markings. There is also brown shading between post medial and subterminal lines; "cordelia" H. Edwards is coloured as above but markings are faint; "pulverulenta" Brower has grey-green forewings with faint markings, sometimes none; "broweri" Muller is the melanic form with forewings that are dark green, almost black. The hindwing has a separate anal spot and the outer band ends with a 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.

** 8865 praeclara; Praeclara Underwing, wingspan: 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.

** 8867 Catocala blandula; Charming Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm.
The pale basal area of the forewing distinguishes mira from blandula (dark brown) and crataegi (black). The forewing has dark contrasting lines as in crataegi. There is also considerable brown in the subterminal area and the 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 unbroken.

Lynn Scott image.

Catocala mira; Wonderful Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm.
The pale basal area of the forewing distinguishes mira from blandula (dark brown) and crataegi (black). The forewing lacks the dark contrasting lines of crataegi and blandula. There is also considerable brown in the subterminal area and the subreniform spot is very conspicuous and usually brown. A light area runs obliquely from the costa to the subreniform spot. There is also a noticeable space along the inner margin between the antemedial and postmedial lines. The hindwing is deep orange and has a complete inner black band. The outer black band is unbroken Tim Dyson image.

** 8858 Catocala crataegi WO; 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. There is also a definite greenish cast to median area. The lower wing has the outer black band, broken near the anal angle, distinguishing crataegi from blandula. Tim Dyson image.

** 8841 Catocala abbreviatella; Abbreviated Underwing; wingspan: 40-50mm. The forewing is uniformly colored with narrow black lines on anterior half. The brown reniform spot is ringed with black. The outer black band of hindwing is abbreviated and then continued with a dot. The inner black band also terminates well before the inner margin. Similar species: Catocala nuptialis has solid black reniform spot. C. whitneyi has broad dark triangles in middle of forewing.

** 8842 Catocala nuptialis; Maried 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, wingspan 45-50mm.
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.

** 8844 amestris; Three-staff Underwing; wingspan 45-50mm.

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.

** 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.

** 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.

** 8776 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.

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

** 8857 Catocala ultronia; Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm.

The forewings are typically gray-brown, with a distinct and very dark inner margin and a characteristic light brown patch, underscored by a very dark arc, near the wingtip.

There can be considerable variation from one specimen to the next. Underwings can be yellow to orange to salmon.

Catocala ultronia, the Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm.

There is extensive orange-salmon colouration on the ventral surface of the hindwings and there is a dark discal lunule.

The ventral surface of the forewings also has a generous suffusion of orange-salmon scales in the lower half of the median area.
Joe Garris photo.

** 8779 serena Serene Underwing

The head and collar and abdomen are brown while the thorax is grey. The am and pm lines are thin but very dark and distinct on an otherwise drab, almost uniformly olive-grey forewing.

The black marginal band of the lower wings is indented at the center, and the relatively narrow, deep yellow median band parallels this indentation. Basal hairs are brown. Catocala serena courtesy of Carroll Rudy, July 28, Calumet County.

#8778 Catocala habilis; wingspan: 55-65mm
Note large "M" on thorax and "pork chop" shaped, light coloured subreniform spot that becomes very dark in its constriction at juncture with the postmedian line. The pm line is narrow but dark and distinct. It is outwardly lined with narrow suffusion of white scales, followed by broader band of brown scales, and then another broader suffusion of white scales up to a very regular dentation of subterminal line. There is always significant "bleeding" of yellow-orange to salmon scales into hindwing fringes. Large reniform spot has brown center, faintly edged with black, then white, then black again. Joe Garris image.

#8817 briseis; Briseis Underwing; wingspan: 60-70mm
The forewings are predominantly a mottled dark-grey-brown with some lighter areas 1) between the postmedial and subterminal lines, 2) at the very base of the antemedial and postmedial lines along the inner margin, and 3)over the subreniform spot running diagonally toward the costa. The postmedial lines do not have greatly elongated and sharly pointed "teeth" near the apex. The hindwing fringe is white and unbroken and the inner black band (fairly even) reaches the inner margin. Tim Dyson image.

#8795 Catocala palaeogama ; wingspan: 60-70mm
Subreniform spot is closed, does not approach pm line, and is smaller than in C. habilis. All forms have characteristic orange, heavily barred fringe to the apex, and irregular bands on hindwings. The hw basal median area is heavily suffused with dark brown to black scales. There is a dark bar in outer half of median area, paralleling the inner margin halfway between inner margin and light, closed subreniform spot. Joe Garris photo.

#8795 Catocala palaeogama form phalanga; wingspan: 60-70mm.

In this form, the forewing basal area and subterminal area are very dark against a much lighter background.
The 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; wingspan: 55-72mm

The forewing is mottled with white, grey and brown, and the subrenifrom spot tends to be lighter in colour, although it is sometimes obscured by an indistinct blackish bar which runs from the middle of the basal/thorax connection to just below the much lighter apex at the outer margin.

Jim Vargo image.

** 8851 Catocala coccinata; Scarlet; wingspan: 57-70mm
There are usually diffuse basal and anal dashes on an otherwise light grey, mottled forewing.
Hindwing fringe is white (often with some salmon scaling) and is heavily checked. I find the "tooth" just below pair of very elongated "teeth" is much reduced and is quite rounded, usually allowing considerable room for a lighter patch of scales. Dark bar crosses the thorax. Reniform spot tends be to light, often with greenish cast. Joe Garris image.

** 8840 Catocala illecta; Magdalen Underwing, wingspan: 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.

Solid Black Underwings: Smallest to Largest, Similar Species Paired

** 8781 judith, Judith's Underwing, (wingspan: 45-55mm), is one of the smaller "black" underwings.

The forewing is a uniform light grey with thin and only slightly darkened antemedial, median and postmedial lines. There are no darkened dashes (slight anal dash) or transverse lines. The reniform area is slightly darkened while the area just before the subterminal line is a bit lighter. Note absence of hw white fringe. Joe Garris photo.

** 8773 Catocala epione ; 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 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.

** 8784 obscura; the Obscure Underwing, (wingspan: 60-72mm), has dull, grey forewings, usually void of any significant dashes or streaks, providing for easy identification. The antemedial, median and postmedial lines of obscura are faint and the subterminal line region is only slightly paler than the rest of the forewing.

The hindwing fringe is off-white and lightly checked on the veins. Joe Garris photo.

** 8794 Catocala lacrymosa; Tearful Underwing, wingspan: 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.

** 8791 Catocala insolabilis; Inconsolable, wingspan: 65-75mm
The forewing is light grey with blackish shading along the inner margin. The antemedial and postmedial lines are thin. The hindwing fringe is very narrow and grey, becoming whiter toward the apex. The ventral surface clearly distinguishes insolabis, being almost completely black except for some white in the basal area.
Vernon A. Brou image.

** 8792 Catocala vidua; Widow; wingspan: 70-80mm
The ground colour of the forewing is light grey. There is a distinguished dark arc running through the top of the reniform spot to just below the apex. There are heavy, dark anal and basal dashes, connecting to a dark median bar, running parallel to the inner margin.
The am line is thick and black in its upper half.
The reniform spot consists of two almost concentric irregular ovals. The subreniform spot is light, open, but constricted as it meets the pm line. The hindwing is black with broad, white fringe, only 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 BS; Yellow-Banded; wingspan 70-80mm. Several different forms. Pm line distinct, dark with elongate pair of projections. Pm and am lines meet im in relative proximity. Closed subreniform spot lighter than surrounding areas, shaped like an arrowhead with point toward body. Hws distinctive. Jean-Benoît Duval image. BS: Hampshire: October.

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

** 8821 semirelicta; Semirelict Underwing; wingspan: 65-75mm
The forewing ground colour is white with dark lines and shadings. A diffuse dark bar runs from center of basal area to the outer margin a few mm above the anal angle. Note regular dentation of st line. The inner black bar on the lower wing 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
Catocala ilia specimens come in several different forms, but most of them have the characteristic white area in and around the reniform spot. There is also a diffuse dark arc running from this spot to just below the outer apex.
Except in worn specimens and the darkest forms, the white dots near the outer margin of the forewing are in character with the overall "contrasting" appearance of this moth.
Joe Garris image.

** 8808 luciana; Luciana Underwing, wingspan: 70-80mm
Luciana has a pale grey brown forewing with very distinct antemedial and postmedial lines. The subreniform spot has an elongated narrow "tail" that seems to open through the postmedial line. The inner black band of the hindwing does not reach the inner margin. The fringe is checked and paler (almost yellow) than the salmon ground colour.

** 8771 Catocala piatrix ; Penitent, wingspan: 68-84mm

The forewing has a light-colored band/bar extending from the subreniform spot along the am line to the costa.

The fringe of the hindwing is lightly barred and is lighter in color than the deeper orange on the rest of wing.

Catocala junctura; Joined Underwing; wingspan: 67-85mm. Forewing 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 and are not widely spaced at im. Hindwing is salmon or orange-pink with narrow inner black band that turns in sharply but does not meet dark-haired im, distinguishing it from unijuga. Gary Anweiler image.

** 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.

Catocala unijuga, Carroll Rudy, Aug 26, Calumet County.

** 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.

** 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, wingspan: 75-90mm. Forewings are greyish white with blue-grey and light brown scales. Catocala subnata usually have hindwings brighter yellow than those of neogama. Neogama usually have basal dash; absent in male subnata, but present in females.
Magnification of hind tibia helps to distinguish the two species: 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 with sporadic spines.

** 8796 Catocala nebulosa; Clouded; wingspan 75-86mm
Moths have a 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 (wingspan: 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; wingspan 70-85mm
Note the deep maroon almost purple cast to the forewings, mixed with a very pale green. The lower half of the am and 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)

This species is very skittish and frequently hides in caves, under bridges, under tree bark, etc. by day, resting with head down. The hindwing patterning and colouration are similar to that of Catocala concumbens, but the large size (wingspan 75-95mm) and the dark bar running from the basal area to just below the apex distinguishes Catocala amatrix. See large Catocala amatrix courtesy of Joan F. Rickert, Aug 30, Taylor County.

Catocala unijuga, courtesy of Joan F. Rickert, Taylor County, Wisconsin,
September 03, 2006, id by Bill Oehlke.

Calumet County sightings by Carroll Rudy:

Catocala serena July 28, 2006
Catocala unijuga August 26, 2006
Catocala clintoni July 9 2007
Catocala myra July 23, 2007
Catocala grynea July 23, 2007
Catocala ultronia July 23, 2007

Taylor County sightings by Joan F. Rickert:

Catocala amatrix August 30
Catocala unijuga September 3