Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 74 NC Records

Catocala praeclara Grote & Robinson, 1866 - Praeclara Underwing


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930847.00 MONA Number: 8865.00
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: Gall and Hawks (2010) recognize two subspecies: C. praeclara charlottae along the Gulf Coast and C. praeclara manitoba in Canada. Dark brown forms similar to charlottae occur in North Carolina but mixed in with populations of the typical form. Whether or not these individuals correspond to charlottae is unclear -- ours usually possess a basal dash, whereas charlottae does not (Brou, 1988). However, we treat them here as color morphs here rather than distinct subspecies.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984); Beadle and Leckie (2012)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Grote and Robinson (1866); Barnes and McDunnough (1918); Forbes (1954); Sargent (1976)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized Underwing with forewings variably shaded with gray or brown and hindwings banded with yellow-and-black similar to other members of this species group. Specimens from the Coastal Plain, where most of our records come from, lack the bright, glossy or metallic green ground color described by Grote and Robinson (1866) and Barnes and McDunnough (1918) and are instead either a dull greenish-, bluish-, brownish-, or violet-gray or are completely suffused with dark, purplish brown; in all forms, there is little contrast between the median and basal areas. A short but distinct and usually forked basal dash is present, including in the brown forms (unlike both charlottae and manitoba, where the dash is typically absent or obscure). The antemdian line is well developed and doubled, with a pale filling. The postmedian is also usually well marked, with an inward bend at the fold, forming a strong line paralleling the inner margin and bordered below by a dark brown shade. Catocala clintonii is similar but usually larger than praeclara and possesses longer, narrower dashes and a thinner antemedian line; the inner black band on the hindwing is complete in praeclara but does not extend along the fold in clintonii. Catocala grynea and alabamae are more similar in size and also possess relatively uniform forewings with a dark band between the lower portion of the postmedian and inner margin. However, both of these species lack a basal dash and have weak or obscure lines. Praeclara also usually have a dark subapical shade that runs from the upper points on the postmedian line to the outer margin, which is not typical of the other two species. Catocala dulciola is yet another similar species, possessing a basal dash and strong, doubled antemedian line. However, there is more contrast in that species between the pale gray median area of the wing and the more strongly darkened basal area. The basal dash is also more arched than in praeclara, with the lower fork along the anal vein being much stronger than the upper fork, which is much more poorly developed than in praeclara.
Wingspan: 40-50 mm (Sargent, 1976)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution:
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
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Records from the Coastal Plain come mainly from peatlands, swamp forests, and pond edges. In the Piedmont and Mountains, records come from both lowland and ridge-top habitats.
Larval Host Plants: Larvae feed on Chokeberry, Serviceberry, and Hawthorns (Wagner et al., 2011)
Wikipedia
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.
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 Photo Gallery for Catocala praeclara - Praeclara Underwing

Photos: 13

Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2021-05-25
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2020-07-21
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-05-25
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-05-03
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Mark Shields on 2020-05-03
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: Patrick and Megan Blythe on 2019-07-31
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: Patrick and Megan Blythe on 2019-07-31
Macon Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 2009-06-02
Moore Co.
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Recorded by: Jamie Cromartie and Steve Hall on 2004-06-21
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: Jamie Cromartie and Steve Hall on 2004-06-21
Bladen Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 1995-06-16
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 1995-06-16
Onslow Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 1994-06-15
Dare Co.
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