Moths of North Carolina
Scientific Name:
Common Name:
Family (Alpha):
« »
View PDFErebidae Members:
Catocala Members:
10 NC Records

Catocala alabamae Grote, 1875 - Alabama Underwing

Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930848.00 MONA Number: 8869.00
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) treat Catocala titania -- formerly considered a distinct species by some authors (e.g., Forbes, 1948; Sargent, 1976; and Covell, 1984) -- as a synonym of alabamae. We have both typical and darker brown individuals in our populations, but whether any correspond to form titania is unclear.
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, GBIF, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Barnes and MacDunnough (1918); Forbes (1954); Sargent (1976)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-sized Underwing (smaller than other members of the Rosaceae-feeding group), with fairly plain forewings and yellow-and-black banded hindwings. In the typical form, the ground color of the forewings is a dull yellowish-green, with fairly uniform shading from the base to the outer margin. A dark brown form also exists in our area, but apart from differences in the ground color has markings similar to the typical form, not more reduced as in form titania. No basal dash is present whatsoever and the antemedian and postmedian are mainly thin black lines except where they intersect the costa; the lower portion of the postmedian, where it bends back towards the base of the wing and parallels the inner margin, is also usually darker, with an umber shade below it. Catocala alabamae is similar to C. grynea, which is usually a darker, olive green and possesses a more extensive and contrasting orange-brown shade between the horizontal portion of the postmedian and inner margin. Catocala praeclara can also have a similar greenish color, but characteristically has a well-developed basal dash and more heavily darkened antemedian and postmedian lines.
Wingspan: 30-40 mm (Sargent, 1976)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos of unworn specimens.
Immatures and Development: Larvae are gray with dark patches extending downward from the horn on A5, connecting the prolegs on A5 and A6. Larvae illustrated by Wagner et al. (2011) are somewhat reticulated by thin dark lines.
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Known only from the Coastal Plain 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)

Click on graph to enlarge
Flight Comments: Univoltine, with our records concentrated in June and early July
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Most of our records come from xeric sand rims bordering Carolina Bays; this is the same type of habitat used by Catocala grisatra and both species may be feeding on Crataegus munda in those areas. The same may be true for records in the Fall-line Sandhills but the record from Northampton County comes from rich bottomland hardwoods, where riparian hawthorns are common and support a number of Crataegus-feeding Catocalas.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on hawthorns (Sargent, 1976; Wagner et al., 2011).
Observation Methods: Comes to lights, at least to some extent; probably also comes to bait, but we have no records for that method in North Carolina
See also Habitat Account for General Rosaceous Thickets
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status: W3
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: G4 S2S3
State Protection: Has no legal protection, although permits are required to collect it on state parks and other public lands.
Comments: We have few records for this species in North Carolina, where it appears to be strongly associated with xeric sand ridges with large populations of hawthorns; some use of riparian hawthorns is also likely. More information is needed on the distribution, abundance, habitat associations, and host plant range before an accurate assessment of its conservation status can be made.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala alabamae - Alabama Underwing

Photos: 6

Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2012-06-19
Northampton Co.
Recorded by: Jeff Slotten and Steve Hall on 2009-06-12
Bladen Co.
Recorded by: Jamie Cromartie and Steve Hall on 2004-06-21
Bladen Co.
Recorded by: Jamie Cromartie and Steve Hall on 2004-06-21
Bladen Co.
Recorded by: H.H. Neunzig on 1972-07-07
Columbus Co.
Comment: Specimen in the NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 4.0 cm; forewing length = 1.9 cm.
Recorded by: H.H. Neunzig on 1972-07-07
Columbus Co.
Comment: Specimen in the NCSU Insect Museum. Wingspan = 4.0; forewing length = 1.9 cm.