white underwing

(Catocala relicta)

white underwing
Photo by Norm & Peg Dibble
  Hodges #

8803

 
 
Conservation Status
  IUCN Red List

not listed

     
  NatureServe

NNR - Unranked

SNR - Unranked

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

White underwing is a medium to large sized underwing moth. Adults are 17 16 to 1 in length and have a wingspan of 2 to 3. Males and females are identical in appearance.

The forewings are white with a dusting of gray and dark gray scales. The amount of dark scaling varies greatly between populations—in some population the forewings are mostly white, in other populations they are mostly dark gray. They are crossed with several jagged, light to dark gray lines, including a broad median line. The median line passes through the kidney-shaped spot in the outer median area (reniform spot). The reniform spot is dark gray and may have some light spots. The smaller circular spot closer to the inner margin (subreniform spot) is white and outlined with gray. A line nearest to the outer margin (terminal line) consists of row of dark gray spots between the veins. The fringe is light gray. The outer margin of the forewing is scalloped.

The hindwings are black with a broad, curved, white median band, a narrow white stripe near the margin, and a white fringe.

The thorax is dark gray. There is a prominent tympanal hearing organ on each side of the thorax.

The antennae are slender and thread-like.

The caterpillar is whitish and about 3 in length. There is a dark gray, saddle-like band partially covering the fifth and sixth abdominal segments (A5 and A6). The band extends to the leg-like appendage (proleg) on both segments. The breathing openings (spiracles) are black with a narrow white border. There is a fringe of numerous, long, hair-like growths (setae) near the base (subventral area) of each segment. The head has a dark band across the top and dark mottling near the triangle (frons).

Mature caterpillars are found from late June to early July.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

Total Length: 17 16 to 1

Wingspan: 2 to 3

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  This is the only underwing with a white band on the hindwing.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Deciduous forests, especially aspen forests

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

One generation, July to mid-October

 
     
 

Behavior

 
 

Adults are nocturnal and are attracted to light.

 
     
 

Life Cycle

 
 

The eggs overwinter and hatch in April or May.

 
     
 

Larva Hosts

 
 

Mostly quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), but also willows (Salix spp.) and other cottonwoods and poplars (Populus spp.)

 
     
 

Adult Food

 
 

Flower nectar

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

21, 24, 27, 29, 30, 71, 75.

 
  9/2/2020      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common in Minnesota

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
 

Order

Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  
 

Suborder

Glossata  
 

Infraorder

Neolepidoptera  
  Parvorder Heteroneura  
  No Rank Ditrysia  
  No Rank Obtectomera  
 

Superfamily

Noctuoidea (noctuid moths)  
 

Family

Erebidae  
 

Subfamily

Erebinae (underwings and kin)  
 

Tribe

Catocalini  
 

Genus

Catocala  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Catocala relicta elda was formerly considered a subspecies, but is now treated as a synonym of Catocala relicta.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Catocala elda

Catocala relicta elda

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

the relict

white underwing

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Frons

The upper part of an insect’s face, roughly corresponding to the forehead.

 

Proleg

A fleshy structure on the abdomen of some insect larvae that functions as a leg, but lacks the five segments of a true insect leg.

 

Reniform spot

A kidney-shaped spot or outline in the outer median area near the postmedial line on the forewing of many moths.

 

Seta

A usually rigid bristle- or hair-like outgrowth on butterflies and moths used to sense touch. Plural: setae.

 

Spiracle

A small opening on the surface of an insect through which the insect breathes.

 

Tympanum

An external hearing structure. In reptiles and amphibians, the circular, disk-like membrane that covers the ear opening. In insects, the membrane covering the air sac and sensory neurons. Plural: tympani.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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JDenby

 
    white underwing      
 

Amanda Wilkins

 
    white underwing      
 

Norm & Peg Dibble

 
 

Moth in St Cloud

 
    white underwing      
 

Nicole Vasquez

 
  Not the best picture but noticed there was not one on the site. Found on the side of building in resting position.   white underwing  
           
 
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Other Videos
 
  White Underwing Moth - Catocala relicta
wetvideocamera
 
   
 
About

Published on Sep 11, 2012

White Underwing Moth, a Noctuid moth with black underwings and white bands across them. Seen at Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby, BC

( Catocala relicta ) September 11, 2012

 
  White Underwing Moth (Erebidae: Catocala relicta) Dorsal View
Carl Barrentine
 
   
 
About

Published on Aug 28, 2011

Photographed at Fisher, Minnesota (28 August 2011). Thank you to Maury Heiman (@Bugguide.net) for confirming the identity of this specimen!

 
  Catocala relicta
wetvideocamera
 
   
 
About

Published on Nov 16, 2013

White Underwing Moth or Relict seen at Barnet Marine Park, Burnaby, BC September 11, 2012

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this insect.

 
  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  JDenby
9/1/2020

Location: Carlton, MN

white underwing  
  Amanda Wilkins
9/24/2019

Location: Park Rapids, Hubbard County

white underwing  
  Norm & Peg Dibble
8/23/2019

Location: St. Cloud, MN

Moth in St Cloud

white underwing  
  Nicole Vasquez
9/22/2017

Location: Silver Bay, MN - Lake County

Not the best picture but noticed there was not one on the site. Found on the side of building in resting position.

white underwing  
           
 
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Created 9/24/2017

Last Updated:

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