Catocala orba
Updated as per personal communication from Rick Gillmore, May 7, 2007
Updated as per personal communication from Vernon Brou, May 13, 2007

Catocala orba
Kusnezov, 1903

Catocala orba, Louisiana, courtesy of Vernon Antoine Brou.

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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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The Orba underwing, Catocala orba (wingspan: 40-45mm), flies from Massachusetts (rare if present; doubtful) south to Georgia and Florida, west to Texas, and as far north as Mississippi. In Louisiana, Vernon Brou reports he has taken it in the parishes of St. Tammany and Natchitoches.

It has also been recorded in Arkansas, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The forewing is a uniform grey with light lines and poorly defined spots. The am and pm lines almost disappear half way in their approach toward the inner margin. The subreniform spot is open and concolorous, scarcely noticeable.

The hindwing underside is completely black. The hindwing fringe is unbroken and slightly off white, somewhat grey.

In some print Orba is described as possibly a slightly larger subspecies or form of miranda. Vernon Brou indicates it is distinct from Catocala miranda.

Catocala orba courtesy of J.K. Adams.


Catocala orba are on the wing in May in Texas and Louisiana (peak in May, also flies in June) and from June to late July elsewhere, possibly into August.

Catocala orba, Marion County, Florida, courtesy of Leroy Simon.

Rick Gilmore writes, May 7, 2007, "C. orba is a hawthorn feeder. I am the first person to rear C. orba, C. miranda, C. grisatra and C. louiseae. All this was published in the Southern Lepidopterists News, in the seventies. C.orba, C. miranda and C. grisatra are all hawthorn feeders, while C. louiseae is a blueberry feeder."


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.


Catocala orba 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 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.

Crataegus ......


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