Catocala of Alberta


Catocala blandula courtesy of Lynn Scott.

There are not too many species indigenous to Alberta so identification is relatively easy if good images (usually need to see entire hindwing) are provided.

The following table divides all North American Catocala species (reported or anticipated in Alberta) into twenty-one different groups. Moths are grouped according to hindwing colour bands (yellow, orange, salmon, red, pink, black or white) and wingspan measurements (small = 35-55mm, medium = 55-75 mm and large = 75mm plus).

Wingspan refers to the distance from wing tip to wing tip when the moths are spread with the inner margin of the forewing perpendicular to the body.

Those found in Alberta are located in their respective groupings. There can be some natural variation in hindwing ground colour, and often there is a range from pinkish orange to deep red for some of the willow feeders.

I will do my best to assist with identifications if you provide high qaulity images with data (at least date and location). Send jpg images to Bill Oehlke. All images I post to my webpages are credited to photogrpahers and remain the property of those photographers.

Many thanks to Gary Anweiler for his excellent coverage of Alberta Catocala.

YELLOWnnmmmmmnmm

smallmnmpraeclara
praeclara manitoba


medium



large

ORANGEmmmmmm

blandula
hermia


briseis
californica very rare
semirelicta


parta

SALMONmmmmmm




luciana
meskei
ultronia

aholibah ???
junctura
unijuga

REDmmmmmmmmmm











PINK mmmmmmmmmmmmmm
small


medium


large mmmconcumbens

BLACKmmmmmmm









WHITE nnmmmmmmmmmm







relicta

mmmmmmmmmm





Little Yellow-Orange Underwings: Wingspans: 35-50mm

** 8865 praeclara; Praeclara Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm. Fw pale greenish-grey with considerable contrasting brown shading beyond post medial line. There is a black basal dash very close to the inner margin and another dash, higher up in the median area. Note the contrasting shapes of the reniform and subreniform spots. Upper of two larger pml teeth is longer, wider than lower tooth. Note double, white filled amls. Lighter, subcircular patch, outlined in black, brown on lower thorax.

** 8865 praeclara manitoba; Manitoba Underwing, wingspan: 40-50mm
The forewing am line is black and distinct, oblique in its upper half and perpendicular to the inner margin in its lower half. There is a distinct, narrow, white, toothed subterminal band.
The hindwing loop is complete.

** 8867 Catocala blandula WO; Charming Underwing; 40-50mm. Fw pale basal area distinguishes mira from blandula (dark brown) and crataegi (black). Fw has dark contrasting lines as in crataegi. There is also considerable brown in subterminal area and subreniform spot is very conspicuous and usually brown. A light area runs obliquely from the costa to the subreniform spot. The hindwing is deep orange and has a complete inner black band. The outer black band is unbroken.

Lynn Scott image.


Midsized Orange-Salmon-Red-Scarlet Underwings: Wingspans: 50-72mm

** 8857 Catocala ultronia; Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm.

Fws typically gray-brown, with a distinct and very dark inner margin and characteristic light brown patch, underscored by very dark arc, near wingtip. Underwings can be yellow to orange to salmon.

** 8857 Catocala ultronia form lucinda; Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm.

In form lucinda most of the forewing is bright grey.

On all forms there is extensive orange-salmon colouration on hw ventral surface, and there is a dark discal lunule.

Catocala ultronia, form nigrescens, the Ultronia Underwing, wingspan: 50-63mm. In the melanic form nigrescens, the dorsal forewing is very dark. Even darker subapical arc, basal dash and dash near anal angle are still visible. Dark basal hairs on hindwing. Harold J. Vermes slide, used with permission from his son.

Catocala ultronia form celia.

In form celia there is a wide, light grey band separating a dark region along inner margin and a dark patch near the apex. The ventral surface of forewings of all forms has a generous suffusion of orange-salmon scales in the lower half of the median area.

californica; 65mm. Fws dark, gritty. Markings indistinct. Dark, large reniform spot; am and pm lines indistinct. Subterminal line inwardly lined with light scales. Hw fringe white, checked halfway to outer edge with black, black lines on veins extending through fringe. Some orange bleeding at apex. Black median band ends well before im. June until August; willow or walnut??

Catocala hermia; Hermia Underwing: 58-68mm; pinkish: Fw almost uniform, grey-brown or clay coloured; thin, yet contrasting lines. Distinct large double reniform spot. Large concolourous subrenifrom spot usually open. Hw pinkish red, relatively even, narrow black bands. Inner black band ends before im. Fringe white, checked, pink/red "bleeding" along outer band, near apex.

Catocala hermia form vesta; Hermia Underwing: 58-68mm; pinkish: Fw almost uniform, very dark grey; thin, yet contrasting lines. Distinct large double reniform spot. Large concolourous subrenifrom spot usually open. Hw pinkish red, relatively even, narrow black bands. Inner black band ends before im. Fringe white, checked, pink/red "bleeding" along outer band, near apex.

#8817 briseis TT; Briseis Underwing; 60-70mm; Fws predominantly mottled dark-grey-brown with some lighter areas 1) between postmedial & subterminal lines, 2) at base of am & pm lines along inner margin, 3) over subreniform spot running diagonally toward costa. Pm lines do not have greatly elongated and sharly pointed "teeth" near apex. Hw fringe white & unbroken, inner black band (fairly even) reaches inner margin. Tim Dyson image.


Large Black Underwings (Banded): Wingspans: 70-80mm

** 8803 Catocala relicta ; Forsaken, White, Relict; 70-80mm: Considerable variation with regard to black/white concentrations on fws.
Typical specimens have basal and subterminal areas with blackish scales.

Black hws, with brilliant even white inner band and white fringe, are distinctive. June until October, probably N.& E; poplars and willows

** 8803 Catocala relicta ; Forsaken, White, Relict; 70-80mm: Considerable variation with regard to black/white concentrations on fws. Form clara: basal and subterminal areas predominantly white.

Typical specimens have basal and subterminal areas with blackish scales. Black hws, with brilliant even white inner band and white fringe, are distinctive. June until October.

** 8803 Catocala relicta ; Forsaken, White, Relict; 70-80mm: Considerable variation with regard to black/white concentrations on fws. Form phrynia: evenly dusted with grey over entire forewing. Typical specimens have basal and subterminal areas with blackish scales. Black hws, with brilliant even white inner band and white fringe, are distinctive. June until October; poplars and willows


Large Orange-Salmon Underwings: Wingspans: 65mm, usually 70-95mm

** 8822 meskei TT; Meske's Underwing; 65-75mm. Fws less distinctly marked compared to unijuga, some red-orange at the hindwing apex and just inside the fringe along the outer margin in meskei that is lacking in unijuga. Fw subreniform spot is opened or connected to the postmedian line. The hindwing postmedian band nearly straight, turned in and tapering near anal angle. Tim Dyson image.

** 8821 semirelicta; Semirelict Underwing; 65-75mm. Fw ground colour is white with dark lines and shadings. Diffuse dark bar runs from center of basal area to outer margin a few mm above anal angle. Note regular dentation of st line. Inner black bar on hw usually terminates well before the inner margin. The form "atala" has a forewing that is uniformly grey. Unijuga is usually larger and has less contrasting black lines. The inner black bar on unijuga usually reaches the inner margin. Tim Dyson image.

** 8808 luciana; Luciana Underwing; 70-80mm. Luciana has pale grey brown fw with very distinct am & pm lines. Subreniform spot has elongated narrow "tail" that seems to open through postmedial line. Hw inner black band does not reach inner margin. Fringe is checked and paler (almost yellow) than salmon ground colour.

Catocala junctura; Joined Underwing; 67-85mm. Fw usually dark brownish-gray to evenly powdered blue-grey w/o significant markings. Doubled reniform spot often obscure. Thin, slightly darker am & pm lines run from costa to im and are not widely spaced at im. Hw salmon or orange-pink, narrow inner black band turns in sharply, does not meet dark-haired im, distinguishing it from unijuga. Gary Anweiler image.

** 8806 Catocala parta; Mother Underwing; 70-85mm. The black dashes in the basal, subapical and anal areas help to identify this species. The hindwings may be yellow to yellowish-orange but more often are salmon-red. Note the face-head-like markings on the thorax. In the hindwing, the first (nearest the apex) black protrusion into the white fringe is "noticeably" larger than the others.

** 8805 unijuga; Once-married; 70-90mm. Unijuga has fairly wide black hw inner band (almost reaching inner margin), dark hairs in basal-median area along hw im; very distinctive patterning in forewing. Meskei tend to have narrower band and dustier (less distinct) looking fw. Semirelicta tend to have inner bands that terminate well before inner margins. Also note the very white fringe on both the forewings and hindwings. Carroll Rudy image.

aholibah; 80-90mm: Fw is mix of grey and brown, with preponderance of brown in subterminal area. Double reniform spot has diffuse brown outline of inner oval. Subreniform spot is small, distinctly outlined in black, light coloured and does not connect to pm line. Upper two teeth of pm line are elongate and are followed by relatively smooth line til next tooth below the subreniform spot. Hindwing salmon or pinkish.


Medium-Large Pink Underwings: Wingspans: 70-95mm

** 8833 concumbens Sleepy Underwing or Pink Underwing; 60-75mm. This brown thoracic collar is quite evident in this image as is the interruption in the pm line by the open subreniform spot. The white hindwing fringe is only lightly checked on the wing veins. The vibrant pink bans are distinct in colour and also in their relatively smooth contour.

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Catocala californica, Waterton National Park, Alberta, courtesy of Gary Anweiler.

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