Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 12 NC Records

Catocala innubens Guenée, 1852 - Betrothed Underwing

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930761.00 MONA Number: 8770.00
Comments: One of 103 species in this genus that occur in North America (Lafontaine and Schmidt, 2010, 2015), 67 of which have been recorded in North Carolina. Innubens was included by Barnes and McDunnough (1918) in their Group I (also adopted by Forbes, 1954), which contains just this one species.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Sargent (1976)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A large, brown Underwing with a pale apical spot and broad orange and black hindwings. The pattern and coloration are variable, with some sexual differences and several named forms. The ground color of the forewings is typically rich reddish brown, overlain with pale gray dusting and often streaked with dark brown or blackish (Sargent, 1976); males are often fairly uniform in color and females more extensively marked with black. A black streak is often found between the pale subreniform spot and the postmedian and in some females, there is also a dark streak from the base of the wing to the subreniform. The lower portion of the pale apical patch is typically bordered by a dark subapical dash but the upper/inner portion is bordered by a white segment of the subterminal line. In form scintillans, the area between the basal area and the postmedian is completely filled with black, leaving most of the subterminal area pale apart from a black subapical dash; a pale patch is also located in the lower half of the basal area. The hindwings are orange with fairly broad black bands. Sargent notes that other Catocalas with rich reddish brown forewings and banded hindwings usually have more yellowish rather than orange banding. Catocala micronympha has a form - grisella -- that is similar to form scintillans of innubens but is much smaller and the entire base of the forewing is somewhat pale, not just a strip along the inner margin.
Wingspan: 55-65 mm (Sargent, 1976)
Adult Structural Features: Male valves are asymmetrical, with the left valve possessing a short, ventral hook (Forbes, 1948 - features of Group I)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: A larva illustrated by Wagner et al. (2011) is purplish gray with pale orange stripes but waxy forms also exist. There is a bulge over A8 and rootlet setae are absent. Bright lemon-yellow patches are located at the base of the prolegs.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: All of our records come from widely scattered locations in the Piedmont
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Our records come mainly from July and August
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The habitats where this species has been collected in North Carolina are undescribed, but probably come from old pastures and homesites where Honey Locust was historically planted
Larval Host Plants: Feeds on Honey Locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) (Forbes, 1954; Sargent, 1976; Wagner et al., 2011)
Observation Methods: We have too few records to judge how well it comes to light or to bait
See also Habitat Account for Honey Locust Groves
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S3S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species is reported to be common in the Midwest, where its host plant, Gleditsia is native and widespread. Here in North Carolina, both the moth and its host plant appear to be far more sparsely distributed and possibly not originally native to this region.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala innubens - Betrothed Underwing

Photos: 12

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-09-13
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2019-06-21
Graham Co.
Recorded by: Owen and Pat McConnell on 2019-06-21
Graham Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-07-26
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2011-07-29
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2011-07-29
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2011-07-28
Buncombe Co.
Recorded by: Taylor Piephoff on 2011-07-05
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: Parker Backstrom on 2009-07-30
Lee Co.
Recorded by: Parker Backstrom on 2009-06-26
Chatham Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 1987-08-00
Orange Co.
Comment: Form scintellans
Recorded by: C.S. Brimley? on 1906-07-11
Wake Co.
Comment: Specimen in NCSU Insect Museum; originally in the NCDA Collection. Wingspan = 7.1 cm; forewing length = 3.5 cm