Catocala coccinata

Catocala coccinata
Grote, 1872

Catocala coccinata male, courtesy of Vernon A. Brou.

Catocala coccinata, Buffalo County, Wisconsin,
July 13, 2014, courtesy or Marcie O'Connor

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 coccinata, the Scarlet Underwing (wingspan: 57-70mm) flies in Canada in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec (rare) New Brunswick and Nova Scotia (rare) south through Connecticut and New Jersey to Georgia and to Florida (form sinuosa-fine inner black band on hindwing), west to to Texas and Oklahoma and north to to Colorado unconfirmed, to Nebraska, to South Dakota and to North Dakota.

It has also been reported in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The bright red/scarlet underwings distinguish this species. There are usually diffuse basal and anal dashes on an otherwise light grey, mottled forewing.

The hindwing fringe is white, checked, and sometimes has red highlights at apex. Tim Dyson verso image (right), Peterborough, Ontario, July 26, 2006.

I was unaware of the amount of red on the forewing under surface until I saw the following rare image of the Scarlet Underwing in flight.

Catocala coccinata in flight, Peterborough, Ontario,
July 28, 2016, courtesy of Tim Dyson.

Catocala coccinata, Stillwater Township, Sussex County, New Jersey
July 3, 2006, courtesy of Joe Garris.

Catocala coccinata, Stillwater Township, Sussex County, New Jersey
July 3, 2006, courtesy of Joe Garris.

In examining the pm line on all species on this page, I find the "tooth" just below the pair of very elongated "teeth" is much reduced and is quite rounded, usually allowing considerable room for a lighter patch of scales. There is a dark bar across the thorax. The reniform spot tends be to light, often with a greenish cast to it. The Joe Garris image above also shows considerable salmon colouration in fringe that is heavily checked.

It is the flashy hindwings that really stand out.

The forewings offer excellent camouflage against tree bar, a common resting place.

Catocala coccinata on Bur Oak bark and above ventral image, Peterborough, Ontario, courtesy of Tim Dyson.

Females deposit eggs in the crevices between the rough bark sections.

Catocala coccinata, Buffalo County, Wisconsin,
July 19 2014, courtesy or Marcie O'Connor


Catocala coccinata are usually on the wing from June to September.

Moths come to lights and also to bait.

The Catocala coccinata caterpillar feeds on oaks.

Catocala coccinata, Athol, Worcester County, Massachusetts,
July 28, 2011, courtesy of Dave Small.

Catocala coccinata, Athol, Worcester County, Massachusetts,
July 28, 2011, courtesy of Dave Small.


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.

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

Catocala coccinata, Cambridge, Maryland,
June 25, 2019, courtesy of Jonathan Willey.


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.

Quercus bicolor
Quercus coccinea
Quercus ilicifolia
Quercus macrocarpa.......
Quercus rubra
Quercus stellata

Swamp White oak
Scarlet oak
Bear/Scrub oak
Bur oak
Northern Red oak
Post oak

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This page is brought to you by Bill Oehlke and the WLSS. Pages are on space rented from Bizland. If you would like to become a "Patron of the Sphingidae/Catocala Sites", contact Bill.

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

Enjoy some of nature's wonderments, giant silk moth cocoons. These cocoons are for sale winter and fall. Beautiful Saturniidae moths will emerge the following spring and summer. Read Actias luna rearing article. Additional online help available.

Eggs of many North American Saturniidae species are offered during the spring and summer. Occasionally summer Actias luna and summer Antheraea polyphemus cocoons are available. Shipping to US destinations is done from within the US.

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