Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members:
Catocala Members:
22 NC Records

Catocala serena Hy. Edwards, 1864 - Serene Underwing

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930772.00 MONA Number: 8779.00
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. Included by Barnes and McDunnough (1918) in their Group V (also adopted by Forbes, 1954). This groups comprises 10 species, all of which feed on Hickories or Walnuts (Juglandaciae). In addition to serena, other members of this group that occur in North Carolina include habilis, robinsonii, judith, flebilis, angusi, obscura, residua, and sappho.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Sargent (1976)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al., 2011                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-large, dull gray Underwing with black and orange-banded hindwings. The head and thorax are dull brownish gray, contrasting with the darker brown collar. The ground color of the forewings is also a fairly uniform dull brownish gray, with a somewhat darker shade of reddish brown located outside the postmedian. The lines are black and narrow and less dentate than in related species of Underwings. The subreniform is fairly open and the portion of the postmedian below forms rounded loops. Basal and anal dashes are not developed. Hindwings are marked with black and orange bands. Catocala habilis is similar in having fairly pale grayish forewings and black and orange banded hindwings. The ground color in habilis is paler gray and the lines are more dentate; an anal dash is usually well developed in habilis but not serena and female habilis have a basal dash that is missing in serena.
Wingspan: 50-60 mm (Sargent, 1976)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are shiny brown and lack rootlet setae; the head has a pair of strong coronal black streaks (Wagner et al., 2011)
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: The center of this species' range is the upper Midwest; in North Carolina, it occurs primarily in the mountains but has recently been found in the central 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: Univoltine, flying in North Carolina from July to September
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come from several types of rich hardwood forests, including Rich Coves, Montane Alluvial Forests, and the Rich Subtype of Northern Hardwoods.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on Shagbark Hickory (Wagner et al., 2011); Sargent (1976) speculated that Walnut might also be used
Observation Methods: All of our records come from blacklights, in some cases augmented by blacklight spotlights. Like most Underwings, it probably also comes well to bait.
See also Habitat Account for Rich Montane Hardwood Forests
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 has a somewhat restricted range in North Carolina and is moderately specizalized in terms of its habitat preferences. However, the habitats used by this species are still widespread in the Mountains, with several large protected examples. It therefore appears to be secure within the state. The distribution and status of this species in the Piedmont still needs to be determined.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala serena - Serene Underwing

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-03
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-07-03
Guilford Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka, Becky Elkin, Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2019-07-30
Yancey Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2018-07-19
Ashe Co.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2014-08-22
Ashe Co.
Comment: Specimen in NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 5.9 cm; forewing length = 2.8 cm.