This site has been created by
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.
In the United States it occurs in the border states (Washington [Robert Goodmiller, September 2002]; Montana [Charles Miller, Missoula Co., August]; and eastward) and has been taken as far south as Missouri, and in Kentucky and Mississippi as strays.
It flies in Colorado and Utah.
Tom Middagh reports them in Minnesota.
Arizona, California, Connecticut, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Scott Shaw reports relicta is common "on Pole Mountain, in the Medicine Bow Forest, Wyoming, about 10 miles east of Laramie near I-80 in the mountain willow bogs."
The moth formerly described as C. elda Behrens 1887, is now a synonym of C. relicta.
Visit Catocala relicta, Hat Rock State Park, Umatilla, Umatilla County, Oregon, August 1, 2009, courtesy of Mike Denny.
Visit Catocala relicta approaching bait trap, plus recto and verso images and comparison plate, Regina, Saskatchewan, August 17, 2009, courtesy of Tim Taylor.
Visit Catocala relicta form phrynia, Ogemaw County, Michigan, August 26, 2012, Cindy Mead.
Visit Catocala relicta, Hinckley, Somerset County, Maine, August 30, 2011, Steve Lemieux.
Visit Catocala relicta form phrynia, Peterborough, Ontario, September 7, 2004, Tim Dyson.
Visit Catocala relicta, Athol, Worcester County, Massachusetts, September 29, 2011, Dave Small.
Visit Catocala relicta, forms: typical and clara, Medford, Taylor County, September, October 1-2, 2011, Joan F. Rickert. Visit Catocala relicta male verso, unusual leg spines, Regina, Saskatchewan, November, 2009, courtesy of Tim Taylor.
Catocala relicta, form "clara" Peterborough, Ontario,
August 16, 2004, courtesy of Tim Dyson copyright.
Catocala relicta, Peterborough, Ontario,
August 27, 2004, courtesy of Tim Dyson copyright.
Studies indicate that adult moths definitely chose light coloured surfaces on which to hide.
There is considerable variation with regard to black/white concentrations on the forewings.
The form clara Beutenmüller, 1903, has the basal and subterminal areas predominantly white; the form phrynia Henry Edwards, 1880, is evenly dusted with grey over the entire forewing.
Typical specimens (right) have the basal and subterminal areas filled with blackish scales.
Catocala relicta, Peterborough, Ontario, August 28, 2004, Tim Dyson copyright.
Catocala relicta form "phrynia", Peterborough, Ontario,
August 21, 2004, courtesy of Tim Dyson copyright.
I was out tending some of my
Saturniidae larvae in big white remay sleeves in a stand of poplars
and birches around 4:30 pm today, September 2. There was a nice
female relicta form clara resting on the side of one of the
Male Catocala relicta by Bill Oehlke.
The Catocala relicta caterpillar feeds on poplars, quaking aspen and willows. It has also been reported on oak, hickory and birch.
Those that I have reared from eggs have spun very loose cocoons among leaves. Form "clara" seems most common on Prince Edward Island in the Montague area. Eggs from "clara" females have yielded "clara", typical and "phrynia" forms.
This moth is reported to mate readily in captivity.
The abdomen of the female reminds me of a turkey baster while males have a much more even taper.
I captured several
females at lights and they readily oviposited in inflated brown paper
grocery bags. Eggs, very small, were deposited along sides, but most
often near top where bag had been folded shut. I had also inserted a
crumpled up brown paper sandwich bag and found eggs in creases/folds
on outside of the bag as well as inside the bag.
Catocala concumbens courtesy of Kirby Wolfe
Catocala relicta courtesy of Kirby Wolfe.
The pale greenish-grey larvae attain lengths of 60 mm. The head is brown and coarsely granulose.
Success! The Catocala relicta and
Catocala concumbens eggs that I overwintered in the refrigerator
crisper provided me with many tiny caterpillars this spring.
They are very tiny, yet very quick, moving in a jerky "inch-worm"
fashion, reminding me very much of the movement of disturbed
Larvae progressed very rapidly in outdoor remay sleeves on poplar and
attained a length of about 60mm (2-1/4 inches) by July 18. They are masters of
camouflage, hugging the poplar limbs.
Larvae progressed very rapidly in outdoor remay sleeves on poplar and attained a length of about 60mm (2-1/4 inches) by July 18. They are masters of camouflage, hugging the poplar limbs.
Cocoons were not much smaller than luna cocoons even though larvae were not near the bulk of mature luna caterpillars. Pupation followed within a couple of days and there is an interesting "bloom" on the outside of the pupae.
The first cocoons were spun on July 19 and the first eclosion was on August 8. This, I believe, is too early for the natural flight here on P.E.I. Next year I will not takes eggs out of cold storage until at least three weeks after poplar leaf out.
Below are two images of larvae on Big toothed Aspen, New Hampshire, courtesy of Ron Nelson.
Catocala relicta courtesy of Tim Dyson.
Catocala relicta pupa in cocoon, courtesy of Tim Dyson.
Please send sightings/images to Bill. I will do my best to respond to requests for identification help.
Enjoy one of nature's wonderments: Live Saturniidae (Giant Silkmoth) cocoons.