Catocala semirelicta hippolyta

Catocala semirelicta hippolyta
Strecker, 1874

Catocala semirelicta hippolyta 280 feet, Ventura City, Ventura County, California,
July 2 2002, courtesy of Tom Dimock

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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 semirelicta hippolyta (wingspan: males: 72-76mm; females: probably larger) flies in California as a coastal species, probably from Contra Costa and Alameda to Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

There is a white border just inside the subterminal line. The post medial line lacks any outward jagged projections, being more uniformly zig-zag except for an inward projecting "tooth" near the anal angle.

Catocala smirelicta hippolyta Ventura City, Ventura County, California,
August 3, 2001, courtesy of Tom Dimock

The inner black band on the scarlet hindwing is very narrow, tapering to a curved point, terminating well before the inner margin. The fringe is white and continuous from the apex to the anal angle.

The moth formerly classified as Catocala hippolyta is now (2010) considered a subspecies of semirelicta, while those moths previously described as Catocala nevadensis and Catocala pura are now (2010) considered to be synonymous with Catocala semirelicta.


Catocala semirelicta hippolyta flies as a single generation with moths on the wing from late June to very early October, with most moths done flying by the end of August.

Catocala semirelicta hippolyta larvae probably feed on poplar as that is where above males were resting when captured. They are extremely well camouflaged at rest when hindwings are covered.

Catocala semirelicta hippolyta Ventura County, California, courtesy of Tom Dimock


Adults eclose from pupae formed under leaf litter.


Catocala semirelicta hippolyta females emit an airbourne pheromone and males use their antennae to track the scent plume. This is a sexually dimorphic species.

How many C. semirelicta hippolyta can you find on the poplar trunk?? Keep looking!

Catocala hippolyta foursome, Ventura Co., Ventura City, Hill Road, 280 Ft,
3 August 2001, courtesy Tom Dimock


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

Mature larvae probably feed at night, and they may hide in leaf litter during the day near the base of the tree.

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.

Populus ......


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