Moths of North Carolina
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Catocala Members:
20 NC Records

Catocala crataegi Saunders, 1876 - Hawthorn Underwing

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930846.00 MONA Number: 8858.00
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 XVII (also adopted by Forbes, 1954), which feed mainly on members of the Rosaceae; 12 other members of this group (as redefined by Kons and Borth, 2015b) also occur in North Carolina.
Species Status: DNA analysis reported by Kons and Borth (2015b) indicate that there are two separate clades of C. crataegi, one in the Northeast, with populations extending down the Appalachians as far as North Carolina, and one in the South, ranging from Mississippi to Texas.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONA, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Barnes and MacDunnough (1918); Forbes (1954); Sargent (1976)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized Underwing, with strongly contrasting pale and dark areas on the forewing and yellow-orange hindwings that have heavy black bands. The median area of the forewing is a light, greenish-gray, bordered by a large black patch covering the basal area and extending in a band along the inner margin (Forbes, 1954; Sargent, 1976). A basal dash is present; the antemedian is excurved; and the postmedian is incurved and fairly even below the cell to the fold. The hindwing is yellow-orange with a heavy, complete, black inner loop. Catocala aestivalia, blandula, mira, and pretiosa are all similar, but the light greenish median shade that strongly contrasts with the black basal area and outer margin is characteristic of crataegi. The antemedian and postmedian lines of the forewings usually do not touch they way they do in blandula, but are not as separated as in mira and pretiosa (Sargent, 1976). Blandula also usually has a rounded spot below the reniform where the white cross band meets the black, but is absent in crataegi (J.B. Sullivan, pers. obs). Specimens of C. aestivalia mostly lack the dark shade along the inner margin but at least some individuals may not be securely separated from C. crataegi (Kons and Borth, 2015b).
Wingspan: 40-50 mm (Sargent, 1976)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Distribution 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
Habitats and Life History
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on Apple and Hawthorn (Wagner et al., 2011) - View
See also Habitat Account for General Rosaceous Thickets
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.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala crataegi - Hawthorn Underwing

Photos: 7

Recorded by: Richard Teper on 2022-06-26
Avery Co.
Recorded by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn on 2020-07-15
Polk Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-20
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-07-20
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2019-06-24
Madison Co.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2014-06-26
Ashe Co.
Comment: Specimen in the NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 4.4 cm; forewing length = 2.1 cm.
Recorded by: J.B. Sullivan on 2001-07-22
Avery Co.
Comment: Specimen in the NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 4.3 cm; forewing length = 2.1 cm.