Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFErebidae Members: 62 NC Records

Catocala flebilis Grote, 1872 - Mourning Underwing


Taxonomy
Superfamily: Noctuoidea Family: ErebidaeSubfamily: ErebinaeTribe: CatocaliniP3 Number: 930775.00 MONA Number: 8782.00
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 V (also adopted by Forbes, 1954). This groups comprises 10 species, all of which feed on Hickories or Walnuts (Juglandaciae). In addition to flebilis, other members of this group that occur in North Carolina include habilis, serena, robinsonii, judith, angusi, obscura, residua, and sappho.
Identification
Field Guide Descriptions: Covell (1984)Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, BOLDTechnical Description, Adults: Forbes (1954); Sargent (1976)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Forbes (1954); Wagner et al. (2011)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: A medium-large gray Underwing with black hindwings. The ground color is blue-gray, with a dark shade (sometimes faint) or black band running obliquely across the wing, often from close to the basal line to the outer margin, interrupted by the pale subterminal spot. A dark basal dash is also present, located below the oblique band and the lower loop of the postmedian. The reniform is usually brown but preceded with a pale patch that also interrupts the oblique band. The undersides are strongly and distinctively marked with black and white (Forbes, 1954; Sargent, 1976). The smaller size and blue-gray ground color of the forewings help distinguish this species from other underwings with a dark oblique shade on the forewings and black hindwings, including some forms of robinsonii, myristica, angusi, and retecta. The white fringe on the hindwings also rules out angusii and the pattern on the undersides of the wings separates flebilis from the rest: the white postmedian band on underside of the forewing is narrow and diffuse -- much more so than in robinsonii and myristica -- and the white patch at the base of the hindwing is a clearer white and the postmedian again narrower than in the other species. The postmedian also lacks the outward bulge on M3 and C1 that is characteristic of retecta.
Wingspan: 55-65 mm (Sargent, 1976)
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: Larvae are dark gray with a black dorsal saddle on segments A5 and A6 and with black streaks along the spiracles on the rear of the body; rootlet setae are absent and dorsal setae arise from pink-orange warts (see Wagner et al., for a detailed description and illustrations).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Probably found throughout the Low Mountains and Piedmont. Records in the Coastal Plain may be limited to the nutrient-rich floodplains and adjoining slopes of brownwater rivers
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, flying from mid-summer to early fall
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Our records all come from stands of hardwoods, but range widely in terms of both moisture regime and soil chemistry. We have records from both mesic and dry nutrient-rich habitats, including the slopes along the Roanoke River and a dry ridge of gabbro in the Uwharrie Mountains. Similarly, we have records from both mesic and dry habitats associated with more acidic, nutrient-poor habitats in monadnocks in the Piedmont as well as ridges in the Blue Ridge. However, we have no records from dry-to-xeric habitats in the Coastal Plain, despite the presence of several species of hickories in such areas.
Larval Host Plants: Stenophagous, feeding on several species of hickories, including Pignut, Mockernut, and Shagbark; also feeds on Black Walnut (Forbes, 1954; Sargent, 1976; Wagner et al., 2011)
Observation Methods: Appears to come well to lights. Like other Underwings, probably also comes well to bait. Wagner et al. (2011) describe finding larvae resting under shags or along the fissures in the bark of hickories, from about waist-height to just above the ground. Larvae can also be effectively sampled by tying burlap bags around the trunks, under which the larvae often hide.
Wikipedia
See also Habitat Account for General Oak-Hickory 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.
Comments: This species appears to be somewhat uncommon but found over a large part of the state and occurring in still common and extensive types of habitats. Consequently, we believe it is currently secure within the state.

 Photo Gallery for Catocala flebilis - Mourning Underwing

Photos: 17

Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-10-08
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Hall on 2021-09-14
Ashe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-10
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: tom ward on 2021-09-03
Buncombe Co.
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Recorded by: David L. Heavner on 2021-08-03
Chatham Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2021-07-14
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Stephen Dunn on 2021-07-14
Orange Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-26
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-08-09
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2020-06-24
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-09-22
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-10
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Gary Maness on 2019-07-10
Guilford Co.
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Recorded by: Darryl Willis on 2013-07-20
Cabarrus Co.
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Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2011-08-07
Warren Co.
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Recorded by: SPH on 2011-08-02
Randolph Co.
Comment: Wingspan = 6.0 cm; forewing length = 3.0 cm. Ground is blue-gray and the hindwing fringe is narrow and white
Recorded by: Paul Scharf on 2009-08-01
Warren Co.
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