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

Catocala amatrix (Hübner, [1813]) - Sweetheart Underwing

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Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930815.00 MONA Number: 8834.00
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.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLD                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A large underwing moth. Fore-wings have a flat yellowish or grayish-brown ground color but with a pale gray sheen that is more or less evident depending on the lighting and angle of view. The typical form (nurus, according to Holland, , and Forbes, 1954) has a heavy dark basal dash that usually is joined with a median and apical dash that crosses the wing diagonally; in form selecta, the dashes are reduced or absent (Sargent, 1976). The antemedian and postmedian lines are dark and contrasting in the upper half of the wing but paler towards the inner margin; the upper portion of the antemedian is fairly wavy and runs obliquely in from the costa (less smooth and curved than in cara and carissima) and often has an inward-pointing tooth at or near the radius (an outward tooth is usually prominent in cara and carissima). A large sub-reniform spot is present and usually joined to the antemedian by a dark patch or lines (Sargent, 1976). The hindwings are strongly marked with red and black bands, similarly to cara and carissima, but lack the black basal area present in those species.
Wingspan: 75-85 mm (Sargent, 1976); 89 mm in one of our specimens
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Distribution in North Carolina
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)

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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records come mainly from wetland habitats, including several where either Eastern Cottonwoods or Swamp Cottonwoods are known to occur. However, it has also been recorded at some sites where only willows are known. It has also been recorded on some high ridges in the Mountains where neither willows nor cottonwoods seem likely to be present; Bigtooth Aspen has been recorded at least at one of those sites, however.
Larval Host Plants: Poplars, including cultivated species; perhaps also willows (Wagner et al., 2011) - View
See also Habitat Account for General Poplar Forests
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.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala amatrix - Sweetheart Underwing

Photos: 8

Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2022-08-04
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: B. Bockhahn, P. Scharf, K. Kittelberger on 2014-09-17
Warren Co.
Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-08-12
Cabarrus Co.
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2012-08-02
Bertie Co.
Comment: Form selecta. Found inside a deer stand. Flew back inside several times after being chased out to get a better photograph. According to Sargent, this species frequently seeks shelter in buildings and other protected places.
Recorded by: Steve Hall on 2012-08-02
Bertie Co.
Comment: Form selecta. Shows the pale gray sheen that is visible from some angles.
Recorded by: Taylor Piephoff on 2012-07-29
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: Lenny Lampel on 2012-07-27
Mecklenburg Co.
Recorded by: SPH on 2012-07-19
Northampton Co.
Comment: Form selecta; wingspan = 8.9 cm; forewing length = 4.3 cm