Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 78 NC Records

Catocala retecta Grote, 1872 - Yellow-gray Underwing


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930777.00 MONA Number: 8788.00
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 VI (also adopted by Forbes, 1954). This groups comprises 15 species, all of which feed on Hickories or Walnuts (Juglandaciae). In addition to retecta, other members of this group that occur in North Carolina include dejecta, ulalume, insolabilis, myrisitica, vidua, maestosa, lachrymosa, palaeogama, nebulosa, subnata, and neogama.
Species Status: Some authors include luctuosa as a reddish form of retecta; others, including Larry Gall, treat them as separate species.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes 1954); Sargent (1976)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A large pale gray and black-streaked Underwing with black hindwings. The ground color of the forewings is typically pale gray to cream. The transverse lines dashes are black and contrasting; the antemedian is double with a white filling. A basal dash is present in both sexes, with a slightly separate dash crossing the antemedian and nearly joining the postemedian at the subreniform loop. The long teeth of the postmedian just beyond the cell are strongly marked with black, as is the horizontally retracted portion of postmedian just above the inner margin. The veins in the marginal area are also black, with dark marginal patches at M1, M2, and A1. The subterminal line is white, preceded by a reddish brown shade. The reniform spot is also shaded with reddish brown. The hindwings are black with a white fringe. The horizontal dashes are narrower and more broken than in the streaked forms of robinsonii, myristica, and angusi. Catocala flebilis is smaller and darker blue-gray on the forewings. The postmedian on the underside of the hindwings has a distinctive outer bulge missing in the other species (Sargent, 1976).
Wingspan: 60-70 mm (Sargent, 1976)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae are gray, with broken dark subdorsal lines; rootlet setae are present, as in other members of Species Group IV (see Wagner et al., 2011, for illustrations and detailed description).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably found throughout the Piedmont and Mountains
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 from June to September in North Carolin
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from rich, mesic stands of hardwoods, including rich cove forest, northern hardwoods, mountain and brownwater alluvial forests. Records also come from drier ridge tops, including one stand of dry basic hardwoods in the Piedmont and more acidic stands in the mountains.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on Shagbarks and other section Carya hickories (Wagner et al., 2011)
Observation Methods: Comes well to lights; like most Underwings, it probably comes to bait
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Rich Dry-Mesic Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4S5]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species appears to be widespread and regularly occurring in the Mountains, where it appears to be secure. It seems to be much less frequent in the rest of the state but appears to occupy a wide range of forest type in that area as well.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala retecta - Yellow-gray Underwing

Photos: 19

Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-21
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-21
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-09-07
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2020-08-15
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-08-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-08-28
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: L. M. Carlson on 2019-07-31
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Ken Kneidel on 2018-08-06
Yancey Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2018-07-19
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2016-09-10
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-03
Ashe Co.
Comment: Determined as retecta by Larry Gall
Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2015-09-16
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2015-07-18
Mecklenburg Co.
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Recorded by: Steve Hall and Bo Sullivan on 2014-09-26
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 2011-08-02
Randolph Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 6.5 cm; forewing length = 3.2 cm.
Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2010-09-14
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Vin Stanton on 2010-09-14
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: G.P. Doerksen on 1971-07-20
Macon Co.
Comment: Originally determined by H.D. Baggett as Catocala retecta luctuosa, but re-determined as retecta by Larry Gall. Wingspan = 7.0 cm; forewing length = 3.4 cm.