Catocala irene

Catocala irene
Behr, 1870

Catocala irene courtesy of David Wikle

Catocala irene, Wolf Creek, Josephine County, Oregon,
August 18, 2015, courtesy of Edna Woodward.

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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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Irene's underwing, Catocala irene (wingspan: 65-75mm), flies in Utah and California and Nevada.

Dr. Wayne Whaley reports "C. irene is very common in Utah. In Utah County, Utah it can be one of our most common species in some localities, especially along the eastern flanks of Utah Lake in August. It feeds on fragile willow (Salix fragilis) and probably others. I have reared many on quaking aspen."

It has also been reported in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.

David Wikle reports C. irene August 11, 2003, from Bonita, San Diego County, California.

C. irene, August 6, 2001, Pinnacles National Monument,
San Benito, California, courtesy of Paul Johnson.

The darkest regions on the grey brown forewing include the upper half of the basal area and the area surrounding the reniform spot with a very indistinct arc toward the apex.

The subreniform spot is considerably lighter and seems to open into the region between the postmedial and subterminal lines.

The inner black band of the hindwings comes to a point well before reaching the inner margin. The outer band shows considerable scalloping near the anal angle.

Henry Edwards described two forms and a subspecies in 1880:
"volumnia" Hy. Edw., 1880, form
"virgilia" Hy. Edw., 1880, form
subspecies valeria Hy. Edw., 1880

I also note that the pm line emanates from the costa directly above the reniform spot and travels as a thin black line along the lower costal edge a considerable distance before beginning a decidedly straight, oblique (rather than an irregular curve) run to the tip of the first upper tooth. This character helped me the most in determining the specimen from Wolf Creek, Josephine County, Oregon.

Catocala irene, Wolf Creek, Josephine County, Oregon,
August 18, 2015, courtesy of Edna Woodward.


Catocala irene flies as a single generation with moths on the wing from late July to early September.

The Catocala irene caterpillar feeds on poplar and willow.


Adults eclose from pupae formed under leaf litter.


Catocala irene 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.

Mature larvae

Image courtesy of

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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