Catocala andromache

Catocala andromache
Henry Edwards, 1885

Catocala andromache male, California, courtesy of David Hawks.

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 andromache (wingspan: 50-55mm) flies in mountainous southern and central California: San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles northward along the southern Coast Ranges and the Sierra Nevada of California to Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Kern, Lake, Los Angeles, Mariposa, Nevada, Santa Barbara, Solano, Ventura and Yolo counties.

"The only closely similar taxon to C. andromache is C. b. benjamini. The dorsal forewing of C. andromache is usually liberally speckled with greenish scales (in many freshly eclosed specimens the wings are a mottled moss green), whereas the dorsal forewing of C. b. benjamini is sparsely speckled with bluish scales. This distinction breaks down for worn specimens, and for many specimens from desert edge mountains in southern California. However, C. andromache is not sympatric with C. b. benjamini. Catocala andromache is sympatric with C. b. mayhewi along the desert slopes of the mountains of southern California, and there the two species are consistently separated by the larger size, darker forewings, darker yellowish bands, and wider black bands of C. andromache.

"The name wellsi was proposed for specimens with more blackish, unmottled forewings from the central Sierran foothills, but these characteristics break down in larger series and there seems little merit in retaining the name at subspecific rank." David Hawks

This moth flies mostly below 2000m.

Others have reported them in Arizona; Wayne H. Whaley reports them in Utah. However, David C. Hawks does not confirm populations outside of California. Specimens designated as C. andromache in Utah and Arizona are more likely a different, similar species. I am pretty sure the "andromache" depicted by Bruce Walsh from Arizona has been re-evaluated as C. caesia.

The moths previously identified as subspecies Catocala andromache wellsi, flying in central California, are now synonymized with the nominate species.


Catocala andromache are usually on the wing from mid June through August.

The Catocala andromache caterpillar shows a preference for oaks. They have been collected on Quercus chrysolepis Liebm. They also probably feed on Quercus cornelius-mulleri, Q. dumosa Nutt., and Q. wislizenii A. de Candolle, among others.


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.

Catocala andromache female, California, courtesy of David Hawks.


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

Catocala andromache (male) Miracle Hot Springs, 2320' Kern County, CA, July 4 1989. Kelly Richers, collector, at uv light.


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

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 chrysolepis
Quercus cornelius-mulleri .......
Quercus dumosa
Quercus turbinella
Quercus wislizeni

Canyon live oak
Mullers Scrub Oak
California scrub oak
Shrub live oak
Interior live oak

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Catocala andromache, courtesy of "California Pappy".

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