Moths of North Carolina
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19 NC Records

Catocala ulalume Strecker, 1878 - Ulalume Underwing

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930779.00 MONA Number: 8789.00
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 ulalume, other members of this group that occur in North Carolina include retecta, dejecta, insolabilis, myrisitica, vidua, maestosa, lachrymosa, palaeogama, nebulosa, subnata, and neogama.
Species Status: Treated as a variety of lacrymosa by Barnes and McDunnough (1918) but as a separate species by French (1922) based on adult characteristics, and by Brower (1922) based on larval traits. Subsequently considered distinct by Forbes (1954), Sargent (1976), Gall and Hawks (1990), and Lafontaine and Schmidt (2010).
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: French (1922); Forbes (1954); Sargent (1976)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Brower (1922); Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A large, medium-gray Underwing with black hindwings. This species is similar in pattern and color to both lacrymosa and dejecta (French, 1922; Forbes, 1954; Sargent, 1976), but tends to be peppered with dark specks and is coarser in appearance overall. It is less blue than dejecta and the oblique pale patch running outside the antemedian from the costa to the reniform is much less conspicuous in ulalume. Compared to lacrymosa, it lacks prominent brown shading, although it may have some dull brown in the subterminal space and the reniform; the pale lunules at the inner margin that are prominent in lacrymosa are either indistinct or at least much less developed in ulalume. The hindwings are black with a white fringe. As in dejecta and lacrymosa, the fringe is white but with black teeth marking the veins where they cross the fringe.
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 pale gray with pink-orange dorsal pinacula and the head has an orange-brown coronal band and a black line from the antennae through the eyes (Wagner et al., 2011). Root setae are present, as in other members of Species Group VI. See Brower, 1922, for a detailed description of their development; an illustration of a mature larva is presented by Wagner et al.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Potentially occurs statewide
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 July to September (one record from June needs to be confirmed)
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come primarily from sandhills in the Coastal Plain and dry ridge tops in the Piedmont and Mountains. Records are absent from bottomlands.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on Mockernut Hickory (Wagner et al., 2011) and possibly other hickories
Observation Methods: Comes to some extent to lights and bait
See also Habitat Account for General Dry-Xeric Hardwood Forests
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 [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 generally considered rare or uncommon, although its exact status is often viewed as uncertain, given the possible confusion with lacrymosa or dejecta. Its wide distribution in North Carolina, together with the commonness of its host plants suggests that it may be secure but far more information is needed on this species before its conservation status can be accurately determined.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala ulalume - Ulalume Underwing

Photos: 5

Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2019-07-25
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall, Scott Hartley, and Chris Helms on 2000-07-28
Moore Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 7.3 cm; forewing length = 3.6 cm.
Recorded by: JBS on 1998-08-18
Stokes Co.
Comment: Specimen in NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 7.0 cm; forewing length = 3.5 cm
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 1995-09-18
Brunswick Co.
Comment: Specimen in NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 7.4 cm; forewing length = 3.8 cm
Recorded by: E.D. Cashatt on 1960-07-05
Wake Co.
Comment: Specimen in NSCU Insect Museum. Determined as ulalume by A.E. Brower (1970) and by H.D. Baggett (1986). Wingspan = 7.2 cm; forewing length = 3.5 cm