Catocala antinympha

Catocala antinympha
(Hübner, [1823]) Ephesia antinympha

The Sweetfern Underwing, August 12, 2003, by Tom Murray copyright.

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


The Catocala antinympha moth (wingspan: 45-55mm) flies from Ontario east through Quebec (common), New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (CNC has records for Prince Edward Island, but I have not seen it here as of yet) and as far west as Saskatchewan (possibly in error). If the Saskatchewan reports are correct, it is probably also in Manitoba ??.

In the United States it flies from Maine south to Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Maryland, and as far west as Wisconsin and Minnesota.

I suspect it is also present in New Hampshire (confirmed August 18, 2008, Chichester, NH, Deb Lievens) and Vermont.

Peter Koch-Schmidt reports, "I took two larvae on Sweetfern southwest of Boston, Massachusetts, in Sherborn in an old gravel pit, June 4, 2000."

Visit Catocala antinympha, Ogemaw County, Michigan, July 24, 2012, Cindy Mead.

Visit Catocala antinympha, Sidney, Kennebec County, Maine, July 29, September 6, Steve Lemieux.

Visit Catocala antinympha, Chichester, Merrimack County, New Hampshire, August 18, 2008, Deb Lievens.

Visit Catocala antinympha, Athol, Worcester County, Massachusetts, July 26, September 9, 2011, Dave Small.

Visit Catocala antinympha, Amherst, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, August 31, September 1, 2011, Joshua S. Rose.

It has also been reported in Delaware, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Virginia.

This species appears to be quite rare in the United States.

Catocala antinympha, July 18, 2006, Peterborough, Ontario, courtesy of Tim Dyson

However, Gabe Larrabee writes (August 15, 2005, "I have caught two specimens in one night so far in central Wisconsin, both males. They are actually common to abundant in certain areas of Wisconsin where sweetfern grows, as I have been told by Leslie Ferge."

Tom Middagh reports them from Minnesota.

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.

Catocala antinympha is the same as C. paranympha Drury, 1773; affinis Westwood, 1837 and melanympha Guenee, 1852

There is also the form multoconspicua Reiff, 1919 with a pale, almost white subreniform spot.

Catocala antinympha at banana/beer bait, July 28, 2006, courtesy of Tim Dyson, Peterborough, Ontario.

Tim Dyson operates an extensive bait trail which he checks regularly throughout the summer and fall. He encounters many of the lesser known forms.

To the right is Catocala antinympha "multiconspicua", observed August 3, 2006, in Peterborough, Ontario.

The subreniform spot shows extensive white scaling on a forewing that otherwise would be entirely dark.

Catocala antinympha Canadian Biodiversity Information Facility

Catocala antinympha form multiconspicua, Sidney, Kennebec County, Maine,
July 29, 2011, courtesy of Steve Lemieux.


In northern portions of its range, Catocala antinympha flies as a single generation with moths on the wing from mid July to mid September.

In more southerly locales there may be multiple flights, but it is generally believed that all Catocala are univoltine (single brooded).

Moths come in to lights readily and also to bait.

Tim Dyson sends this great shot, July 28, 2006, Peterborough, Ontario.

The Catocala antinympha caterpillar shows a preference for Comptonia peregrina (sweetfern) and seems to be host specific.


Adults eclose from pupa formed in a very loose cocoon amongst leaf litter.


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


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

Generally pupation is in a very thinly constructed cocoon (just a few strands of silk) amongst leaf litter near the base of the host plant.

Larval Food Plants

Listed below is the primary food plant. 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.

Comptonia peregrina.....


Catocala antinympha, July 27, 2006, Peterborough, Ontario, courtesy of Tim Dyson

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Visit Joe Garris's Catocala antinympha image, New Jersey.

Visit Deb Lievens's Catocala antinympha image, New Hampshire.

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