Catocala grynea

Catocala grynea
(Cramer, 1780) Phalaena grynea

Catocala grynea, Peterborough, Ontario, courtesy of Tim Dyson, September 3, 2004.

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Noctuidae
Group: Noctuinina
Subfamily: Catocalinae
Genus: Catocala, Schrank, 1802


"Moon River"
copyright C. Odenkirk

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Catocala grynea, the Woody Underwing (wingspan: 40-50mm), flies in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec (rare) through Maine, New Hampshire and Connecticut, south to Florida, west to Texas and north through Iowa to Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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

The forewing is a dull greenish grey with orangey-brown shading along the inner margin. The antemedial, median and postmedial lines are quite faint.

Image courtesy of Lynn Scott, Ontario.

Praeclara is somewhat similar but has a break in the brown shading between the am and pm lines as well as a brown subapical area. Praeclara also has a paler orange hindwing color.

Visit Catocala grynea (recto and verso), Worthington, Nobles County, Minnesota, courtesy of Tom Middagh. Tom's recto image shows a break in the forewing inner margin bar between the am and pm lines, reminiscent of C. praeclara, but it lacks the subapical brown area typical of praeclara.

Catocala grynea, Louisiana, courtesy of Vernon A. Brou.

Catocala grynea, Mason, Ingham County, Michigan,
46mm, taken at bait, July 12, 1996, courtesy of Harry King.

Catocala grynea (verso), Mason, Ingham County, Michigan,
46mm, taken at bait, July 12, 1996, courtesy of Harry King.


Catocala grynea are on the wing from May (Texas) to September. Peak flight is probably in July.

Deb Lievens reports Catocala grynea on the wing in Rockingham County, New Hampshire, from August 4 until September 22.

The Catocala grynea caterpillar reportedly feeds on hawthorns, plums and apples. Gabe Larrabee reports success only with apple.

Always ready for a quick getaway, this grynea flashes its hindwings revealing checkered fringe considerably lighter than orange banding.

Catocala grynea courtesy of Lynn Scott.

Catocala grynea, Athol, Worcester Co., Massachusetts, July 24, 2011, Dave Small.


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.


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

Tim Dyson has captured the ventral surface as this specimen, July 21, 2005, Peterborough, Ontario, is enjoying the bait along Tim's trail.


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

Visit Catocala grynea, Ogemaw County, Michigan, August 7, 2011, Cindy Mead.

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.



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Other sightings:

Catocala grynea, Amherst, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, August 12, 2011, Joshua S. Rose.