Catocala pretiosa
kah-TOCK-uh-lahmpret-ee-OH-suh
Lintner, 1876


Catocala pretiosa female, Louisiana, courtesy of Vernon A. Brou.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.

TAXONOMY:

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

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DISTRIBUTION:

The rare Precious Underwing, Catocala pretiosa (wingspan: 40-50mm), flies from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey west to Pennsylvania and south to Virginia and North Carolina and west to Tennessee into Louisiana and Oklahoma.

It is thought to be near extinction in Ohio and New York and is probably quite localized in other eastern states.

There are also reports from Illinois, Maine, Maryland and New Hampshire.

This species is quite similar to crataegi and mira, but pretiosa has considerable creamy white colouration in the median area. The lower portion of the basal area is also light, not dark as in crataegi.

The inner black band of the hindwing forms a loop and the outer band is broken (not complete as in mira, followed by a dot that tapers to the anal angle.

FLIGHT TIMES AND PREFERRED FOOD PLANTS:

Catocala pretiosa flies as a single generation with moths on the wing from May into early June. The Catocala pretiosa caterpillar feeds on Amelanchier, Malus, Photinia arbutifolia, and Prunus maritima.

ECLOSION:

Adults eclose from pupae formed under leaf litter.

SCENTING AND MATING:

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

EGGS, CATERPILLARS, COCOONS, AND PUPAE:

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.

Amelanchier.......
Malus
Photinia arbutifolia
Prunus maritima


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Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.

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