Catocala amica

Catocala amica
kah-TOCK-uh-lahmm a-MEE-kuh
(Hübner, 1818) Ephesia amica

Catocala amica courtesy of Gerald Fauske (composited by Bill Oehlke).
Richland County, North Dakota, Sheyenne National grasslands, August 16, 1996

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke.
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.


Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Erebidae, Leach, [1815]
Subfamily: Erebinae, Leach, [1815]
Tribe: Catocalini, Boisduval, [1828]
Genus: Catocala, Schrank, 1802


Catocala amica, the Girlfriend underwing, Hodges# 8878, (wingspan: 35-40mm) flies from southern Canada: Ontario and Quebec through the eastern United States, Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, etc., westward to Oklahoma and Texas and northward to Minnesota.

It has also been reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia , Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

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 has now (2010) been elevated to full species status as Catocala lineella.

Catocala jair is a similar species with wider, blunter forewings and a much less dentate post medial line.

Catocala amica to the right, courtesy of John Himmelman, Connecticut.

Catocala lineella males (left); Catocala amica pair (right)
Quebec, courtesy of Pierre Legault.

C. lineella generally has a much darker appearance than C. amica.

Visit Catocala amica, Pickens County, northern Georgia, July 14, 2009, courtesy of Aubrey Scott.

Catocala amica has a pale grey forewing basal area without significant markings. The am line is dark near the costa, but becomes quite weak as it approaches the inner margin. The median area is grey with a slightly darker arc running from the costa through and obscuring somewhat the reniform spot, and then running just below the two dark upper teeth and toward the outer margin.

The subreniform spot is small and closed. There is a brownish grey patch in the area between the reniform spot and the tips of the upper teeth.

The inner half of the subterminal area is brownish grey while the outer half is greyish white. A thin, diffuse dark line separates those halves.

The most distinguishing feature is the absence of a dark median band on the hindwing. The black outer band is truncated well before the anal angle and is followed by a black dot.

Catocala amica, Windsor, Ontario, courtesy of Maurice Bottos.


Catocala amica are usually on the wing from June until September.

The Catocala amica caterpillar shows a preference for oak species and probably limits itself to members of the Quercus genus.

Catocala amica, Chichester, Merrimack County, New Hampshire,
August 18, courtesy of Deb Lievens.


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.


Catocala amica females emit an airbourne pheromone and males use their antennae to track the scent plume.


Eggs are deposited on tree bark in the fall and hatch the following spring.

The caterpillar is gray with faint striping. The fifth abdominal segment is slightly humped and is usually followed by a darkened saddle.

The eighth abdominal segment features pronounced orange warts. The top of the head often has a white and orange spot to each side.

The base of the dorsal hairs is black on the dorsal thorax and black and orange over the abdomen. The fringe hairs are sparse but relatively long.

Image courtesy of David L. Wagner and Valerie Giles.

Larval Food Plants

Listed below are primary food plant(s) and alternate food plants. It is hoped that this alphabetical listing followed by the common name of the foodplant will prove useful. The list is not exhaustive, although some species seem very host specific. Experimenting with closely related foodplants is worthwhile.

Quercus alba
Quercus bicolor
Quercus coccinea
Quercus ilicifolia
Quercus macrocarpa.......
Quercus prinoides
Quercus prinus
Quercus rubra
Quercus stellata
Quercus velutina

White oak
Swamp white oak
Scarlet oak
Bear oak
Bur oak
Dwarf chinkapin oak
Chestnut oak
Red oak
Post oak
Black oak

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