Moths of North Carolina
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Catocala Members:
25 NC Records

Catocala carissima Hulst, 1880 - Carissima Underwing


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930813.00 MONA Number: 8832.10
Comments: One of 103 species in this genus that occur in North America (Gall and Hawks, 2010; Kons and Borth, 2015a,b), 67 of which have been recorded in North Carolina.
Species Status: Formerly considered a form or subspecies of Catocala cara (e.g., Sargent, 1976) but elevated to full species status by Gall and Hawks (2010) on the basis of egg size as well as differences in wing pattern. DNA barcoding indicates a clear separation between these two species as well as between these species and C. amatrix, which Sargent (1976) states sometimes hybridizes with them.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954, as C. cara sylvia); Sargent (1976)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A large underwing moth. Fore-wings are a dark, maroon-brown, mottled by a strong dusting of green, gold, or yellowish-gray scales; a characteristic patch of the light scales is located at the apex, reaching the outer margin. Hind-wings are banded with black and bright red to rose; the inner margin and base of the hindwing are marked with black. Catocala cara is very similar but is less mottled and lacks a well set-off apical patch of light scales. In worn specimens, the dentations of the postmedian -- particularly the two distal points and the point just above and outward from the sub-reniform patch -- are shorter and broader in carissima than in cara (SPH, pers. obs.). Catocala amatrix is similar in size and hindwing color and frequently flies with carissima in the same habitats. Typical amatrix have strong oblique dark dashes that are missing in carissima. Form selecta of amatrix has a more yellow-brown ground color on the forewings than carissima, possesses a grayish sheen rather than a gold dusting, and has an inward-pointing tooth on the antemedian near the radial vein -- in both cara and carissima a prominent outward-pointing tooth is present in this area. The base of the hindwing of amatrix is usually not marked with black although there may be a small spot of black at the inner margin.
Wingspan: 70-85 mm (Sargent, 1976); 88 mm in one of our specimens
Adult Structural Features: Gall and Hawks (2010) note that the egg of carissima is consistently smaller than that of cara, a difference they state is unusual among Catocala.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: A larva illustrated in Wagner et al. (2011) is pale gray, but is otherwise similar to C. cara, particularly in its possession of buff to orange, forward-pointing cranial lobes.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable only through rearing to adulthood.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Appears to be more of a Coastal Plain species than Catocala cara, although there is at least one historic record from as far west as Gaston County (Brimley, 1938). The range of this species appears to be completely overlapped by C. cara in North Carolina.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ‚Č• 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Univoltine, with adults flying from late June to October. Carissima appears to start flying earlier than cara, which usually begins to show up in late July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: All of our records come from lake, pond, swamp, and river shorelines, where willows are common.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on Willows (Salix spp.) (Wagner, et al., 2011). - View
Observation Methods: Comes to blacklights to some extent but like other Underwings comes particularly well to bait (Wagner et al., 2011).
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for Shoreline Shrublands
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G5 [S4]
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: This species does not appear to be common but adults may be undersampled by light trapping. It is otherwise widespread in North Carolina and is associated with common host plants and habitats. It currently appears to be secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala carissima - Carissima Underwing

Photos: 19

Recorded by: Russell James & Jacob Brown on 2020-08-12
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Russell James & Jacob Brown on 2020-08-12
Cumberland Co.
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Recorded by: Hunter Phillips on 2019-11-07
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2019-09-19
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: F. Williams, S. Williams on 2018-07-01
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2017-09-24
Duplin Co.
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Recorded by: j.wyche on 2017-08-27
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Larry Gall, Steve Hall, and Bo Sullivan on 2016-08-23
Pender Co.
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Recorded by: Ed Corey, Jesse Anderson on 2016-06-24
Washington Co.
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Recorded by: Britta Muiznieks on 2013-09-29
Dare Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-08-25
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: j.wyche on 2013-08-21
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2012-10-23
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2012-09-29
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 2012-07-19
Northampton Co.
Comment: wingspan = 8.8 cm; forewing length = 4.0 cm
Recorded by: FKW, SBW on 2007-07-26
Gates Co.
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Recorded by: SNHS on 2006-08-26
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: H. Neunzig on 1973-10-30
Johnston Co.
Comment: specimen at the NCSU Insect Museum; determined as Catocala cara carissima by H.D. Baggett, 1986; wingspan = 8.0 cm; forewing length = 4.0 cm
Recorded by: H. Neunzig on 1973-09-19
Johnston Co.
Comment: specimen at the NCSU Insect Museum; determined as Catocala cara carissima by H.D. Baggett, 1986; wingspan = 7.8 cm; forewing length = 3.9 cm