Unknown Underwing moth for ID

birding_nut(6)August 8, 2011

I know this is the butterfly forum, and I cross posted this to the insect forum, but wanted to see if anyone can help me ID this underwing moth? It has a bright pattern on the underwing, but I couldn't get a picture before it closed up its wings. I live in WA on the eastside of the Cascade Mountains amongst shrub-steppe habitat but within 5 miles of a major river/riparian system. The pic was taken of the moth on my screen door. If a pic is needed of the underwing, I could try to contain it to get it to spread its wings...but I didn't want to disturb it. I went through a page of underwing moths on the internet, trying to click and view those in my area, but none quite look like it...of course, I can't reliable remember what the underwing pattern looks like.



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Nice picture of what appears to be a Catocala hermia to me. This species is wide spread in the midwest/west, so is found in WA. Not knowing how true the colors are in your picture, it's also possible its a Catacala luciana, also widespread in the west, as they are very similar to C hermia. The dorsal forwings of C. hernia tends to be grayer, those of C. luciana browner, and what color the basal area is of the dordal hindwing is another key. In C. hermina its a deep pink, in C. lucina orange. Both of their larva feed on Populus (cottonwood) and Salix (willow), so your proximity to a raparian habitat supports them being in your area.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 3:52AM
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Thanks, Larry. From your description, it may be hermia as the underwings were bright pink. I did some more searching on the internet and thought it may be C. aholibah. However, looking at pics of hermia, that looks more like it as the underwings were bright pink with a wide white trailing edge. Also, aholibah from what I read prefer oaks which are rarer here accept for ornamentals (red oaks). Thank you so much for your help! Also, the color was uniform gray, not as brown as in the picture...when it landed on the side of our house, which is gray, it blended in quite well.


    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 11:45AM
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