Catocala myristica
Created as per personal communication from Ricky Patterson, Vicksburg, Mississippi, March 31, 2017; April 1, 2017; images, April 8, 2017
Updated as per

Catocala myristica
Hugo L. Kons, Jr. & Robert J. Borth, 2015

Catocala myristica female, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi,
July 8, 2015, courtesy of Ricky Patterson.

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 myristica, the Myristica Underwing, (wingspan: male: 78mm; female: 80mm // forewing length: 33-37mm) flies from Mississippi: Oktibbeha County and other counties to South Carolina: Berkeley County, in the Black Belt Ecological Region where it has been confirmed, and it probably also flies in Georgia (confirmed by James Adams), Alabama, and possibly in northwestern Florida. Possibly, but less likely, it also flies in Tennessee, Louisiana, eastern Texas.

Wikipedia: "Black Belt is still used in the physiographic sense, to describe a crescent-shaped region about 300 miles (480 km) long and up to 25 miles (40 km) wide, extending from southwest Tennessee to east-central Mississippi and then east through Alabama to the border with Georgia."

Males of this recently described species have at least two forms. One form (male, perhaps also female) has a wide black band running from the outer margin, just below the apex, to the thorax in the middle of the basal area. The bar widens as it butts against almost the entire outer edge of the reniform spot and then constricts again somewhat as it continues its course to the body. Remarkably, the bar does not even partially obscure the reniform spot.

In males where there is no bar, the moth is very similar to the slightly larger Catocala robinsonii, but the reniform spot in myristica is noticely more brown-filled than in robinsonii, and I note that the longest lower lobe of the pm line is dark black and thicker on myristica compared to robinsonii where the same line is very thin, scarcely noticeable.

Catocala myristica male, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi,
August 1, 2016, courtesy of Ricky Patterson.

In the barred forms of both species, the reniform spot is not encumbered with any of the darker grey scaling of the bar as it is in robinsoni, and robinsoni also has more dark scaling on the inner edge of the bar.

Catocala myristica barred male, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi,
August 1, 2016, courtesy of Ricky Patterson.

In the significantly smaller flebilis, the dark bar is almost completely broken under the cell, and overall the bar is somewhat reduced in its intensity.

Catocala flebilis, Pickens County, northern Georgia,
65mm, September 17, 2009, courtesy of Aubrey Scott.

Thus far specimens have largely been collected on tree trunks and have not responded to mv or black lights or typical baits.


Catocala myristica are usually on the wing in June, July and August.

The Catocala myristica caterpillar probably feeds on nutmeg hickory Carya myristiciformis, and it might be limited to that host. This small tree is only found in small pockets from northeastern Mexico, eastern Texas, eastern Arkansas to South Carolina on rich moist soils of higher bottom lands and stream banks.


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.


Catocala myristica 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.

Larval Food Plants

Listed below are anticipated 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.

Carya myristiciformis .......

nutmeg hickory

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Catocala myristica. Number 296 is a female from the type locality collected 8 July 2015. Number 294 is the black barred male, collected at the type locality on 1 August 2016. Number 295 is also from the type locality collected 1 August 2016.

Catocala myristica HT male, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi,
78mm, June 27, 2008, on my home computer only.

Catocala myristica male, 78mm, on my home computer only.

Catocala myristica male (barred), 78mm, on my home computer only.

Catocala myristica female, on my home computer only.

Catocala myristica female, 79mm, on my home computer only.

Catocala myristica female (verso), 80mm, on my home computer only.

Updated as per Catocala myristica original description.

Updated as per Catocala myristica supplemental plate.