Currently viewing the category: "Underwing Moths and Fruit Piercing Moths"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Awesome moth
Location: Hudson valley New York
September 15, 2015 5:06 pm
Saw this red butterfly fly past me and land and I noticed it didn’t land like a normal butterfly and upon further inspection it wasn’t a butterfly at all or red. It was an all como’d out moth. Please identify this for me it really took me by surprise and really intrigued me.
Signature: Stephen bock

Underwing Moth

Underwing Moth

Dear Stephen,
You are correct that this is a moth.  Underwing Moths in the genus
Catocala often have brightly colored underwings in alternating stripes of red, pink or orange and black.  The brightly colored underwings are revealed in flight, but when the moth lands, the bark-mimic upper wings blend in with tree trunks, effectively camouflaging the Underwing Moth from predators who are searching for brightly colored prey.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Brown Moth
Location: Walkerton, Indiana
August 28, 2015 3:53 pm
I was out cleaning up brush around the house and I saw this moth sitting on my porch steps. Not sure what kind it is, but it is a nice looking one.
Signature: Edward

Underwing Moth

Underwing Moth

Dear Edward,
This Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala is a masterful example of camouflage.  The underwings are often brightly colored red, pink or orange with black stripes, but they are hidden when the moth rests, often on a tree trunk where it blends in perfectly with the bark.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bark colored moth
Location: Fair Harbor, Fire Island, New York
July 27, 2015 5:37 am
I’ve seen a few of these medium sized moths in Fire Island, NY. They stay on our cedar shingled house during the day unless disturbed.
Signature: Alison Sazinger

Underwing Moth

Underwing Moth

Dear Alison,
This is some species of Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala.  Just last night, we posted a few images taken at our own porch light of a Walnut Underwing that visited our porch light.  We are not certain of your species.  According to BugGuide:  “Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) listed 101 species of the genus Catocala in America north of Mexico.  Powell & Opler (2009) reported 110 species in all of North America, and about 230 worldwide. ”  The common name Underwing refers to the brightly colored underwings which are hidden when the moth is resting.  The upper wings of Underwing moths blend in perfectly with tree bark when the moth is resting, and a burst of color results when the disturbed moth takes flight.  A predator continues to search for the bright colors and easily overlooks the camouflaged moth.

Thank you for responding h so fast. I’ve never noticed them here before and now they seem common. When it flew I only saw dark brown.
Is the bright park on the dorsal side?
I’ll google the genus.
Thanks!
Alison Salzinger

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Underwing on the Welcome Mat

Underwing on the Welcome Mat

Subject:  Walnut Underwing visits WTB?
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 26, 2015 9:29 PM
We never tire of visits from Walnut Underwings, and we have had more sightings this year than we can ever remember in a season.  We finally got a peep at those brightly colored underwings that give this Noctuoid its common name.

Under side of an Underwing

Under side of an Underwing

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Walnut Underwing
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
July 10, 2015
Summer is the time of year the Walnut Underwings visit our porch light, and we already sighted a more tattered individual earlier this year, but this beauty spent the entire day resting on the wooden siding.  The next night it was fluttering at the light.  We were concerned that it was not going about its normal activities, so we captured it and released it to a darker part of the garden.

Walnut Underwing

Walnut Underwing

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bark-colored Moth
Location: Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA
May 31, 2015 12:04 pm
Hello,
Nice bark-camouflaged moth with some color. I couldn’t find a comparable one on your site. Taken during the day, resting under a porch light. May 2015. Recognize it?
Signature: A Fan

Underwing Moth

Underwing Moth

Dear A Fan,
Your pretty moth is an Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala, and though we are not able to provide you with a definite species name, we believe it may be Catocala ilia.  We just took an image of a Walnut Underwing at our Mount Washington, Los Angeles offices, but unlike your image, we did not capture a flash of the brightly colored underwings.  As you have noted, the upper wings of an Underwing Moth are an effective bark camouflage, and the flashing red and black insect appears to vanish when the Underwing lands on the trunk of a tree.

Thanks for the genus name! I know the calos part comes from Greek, kalos (beautiful). I like the way it just sat there quietly. I assume it just rests during part of the day and is active at night.

Thanks for the etymology lesson.  The Underwings are nocturnal, and they are frequently attracted to lights.  If they are disturbed during the day, they will fly, which is why we explained about the brightly colored wings distracting the predator, who continues to search for a morsel of that color when in fact the Underwing has blended with its background once it has landed on a tree trunk or other concealing facade.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination