Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae

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L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz

Catocala Schrank

Astiotes Hübner, Hemigeometra Haworth, Mormonia Hübner.

Adults. Head loosely haired. Eyes glabrous; not ciliated. Antennae of males ciliate. Labial palps medium; ascending.

Wingspan 50–106 mm. Head and thorax coloured like the forewings, abdomen grey (or blackish in C. fraxinii). Forewings grey, or tinged with reddish brown or purplish; patterned transversely (complexly so); the patterning well marked; reniform defined; orbicular undefined; claviform undefined. Hindwings lilac and blackish (blackish, with with a pale lilac fascia), or red and blackish (crimson with black fascia and terminal band); conspicuously patterned; without a clear discal mark; transversely lined, or without transverse lines (the lines subsumed); exhibiting vein 5. Vein 5 of the hindwings strong; arising nearer to vein 4 than to vein 6; convergent on vein 4 near their bases. Thorax slightly crested (posteriorly). Middle tibiae with spines. Posterior tibiae with spines. Abdomen slightly, basally crested, or not crested.

Living adults found July and August, or August and September.

Larvae, pupae. Larvae with red markings (on raised spots), or without red markings; posteriorly humped to posteriorly tapered; feeding on foliage of deciduous trees; pupating on vegetative parts of the foodplant, or on the surface of the ground, or in the soil.

British representation. 5 species (one adventive); South-east England, Central-southern England, South-west England, English Midlands, Northern England, Southern Scotland, Northern Scotland, Wales, and Ireland; electa* (Rosy Underwing), fraxini (Clifden Nonpareil), nupta (Red Underwing), promissa (Light Crimson Underwing), sponsa (Dark Crimson Underwing), nymphagoga* (Oak Yellow Underwing).


Illustrations. • C. fraxini, C. nupta and C. sponsa: Newman. • C. promissa (Light Crimson Underwing), with Minucia, Callistege and Euclidia: Newman. • Ophiderinae and Catocalinae: Kirby. • Catocalinae: Catocala nupta (Red Underwing: B. Ent. 217). • Catocalinae: Catocala nupta: B. Ent. 217, legend+text. • Catocalinae: Catocala nupta: B. Ent. 217, text cont.. • Catocala nupta (Red Underwing: Shaw and Nodder, 1799). • Catocala nupta (Red Underwing: Shaw and Nodder, text). • Catocala fraxini (Clifden Nonpareil: Shaw and Nodder, 1801). • Catocala fraxini (Clifden Nonpareil: Shaw and Nodder, text). • Larvae C. fraxini and C. electa: Duponchel and Guénée (1849).

To view the illustrations with detailed captions, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, and distributions of character states within any set of taxa.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2003 onwards. Insects of Britain and Ireland: the genera of Lepidoptera-Noctuidae. Version: 8th June 2016.’.