Currently viewing the category: "Underwing Moths and Fruit Piercing Moths"
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type of underwing moth?
Hi again:
I keep finding amazing moths in our yard in central North Carolina (near Chapel Hill). Is this a type of underwing moth? That’s the closest I came on your website, but I didn’t see one with this coloring and pattern. The pattern on the wings is sort of a metallic blue and purple and the pattern looks like a bat head. What do you think?

Hi Sandy,
This is an Underwing Moth and it might be a Penitent Underwing, Catocala piatrix. We found a nearly exact match on BugGuide.

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I think it’s a Sphinx, my wife doesn’t…
We saw this last night near Syracuse NY. I couldn’t manage to get a picture with the wings open, it was moving too fast. The upper surface of the hindwing had some nice color (you can just see a little bit in the first photo) but I don’t remember seeing any eyespots – but it was moving pretty fast… The lower surfaces of both wings had the black-and-tan banding that you can see in the second photo. I assume from the antennae that this is a female. I’ve been doing some web surfing but haven’t found any pictures that look like a close match. So what is it?
Dr. Kurt Hillig

Hi Dr. Hillig,
This is one of the Underwing Moths in the genus Catocala. They often have very brightly colored underwings that flash when they fly, and then when they land, they are camouflaged to look like tree bark so they seem to disappear. This is just one of the many wonders of evolutionary protective coloration evident in the animal kingdom.

Thanks! But it looks like I lose the bet…

Update: (09/10/2006) Underwing
I think the Underwing pictures you recieved recently from Syracuse are of The Penitent Underwing – Catocala piatrix..
Philip Chaon

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Underwing moth
We found this moth in our backyard in Austin, Texas. We think it is an underwing moth but aren’t sure which one. Can you help?
The Stences

Hi Stences,
You are correct. This is an Underwing Moth in the genus Catocala. There are so many similar looking species it would take an expert to give you a definitive species identification, and even then, it might require the specimen. We will ask around for a second opinion. We were directed to contact Edward Knudson, an expert in this genus and here is his response: “The Underwing moth from Austin, TX is Catocala ilia, one of the most common of the 60 or so species in Texas. The larvae feed on Oaks. Ed”

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What is this?

At well over 5 megabytes, this is the largest photo with the shortest, most terse demand we have ever received. Three words with a questionmark in the subject heading isn’t our idea of a letter. This is an Underwing Moth in the genus Catocala. Moths in this genus often have brightly colored underwings and drab forewings that often blend into the patterns of tree bark. The idea is that when the moth is flying, the predator will hunt out the bright colors, but when the moth comes to rest, it seems to disappear.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Moth in Fiji
Hello, we saw this moth on the door when we returned to our Fijian bure
(thatched hut!) at night. Can you identify it please?
Thanks, Sarah

Hi Sarah,
Tropical species are not our forte, but your moth bears a resemblance to a genus we have, Catocala, known as the Underwing Moths. These moths generally have drably colored upper wings and gaudily colored underwings. They are nocturnal and rest during they day on trees and similar places where they are well camouflaged. If startled into flight, they attract attention, and the pursuer, a bird or other predator, will be looking for the colorful tasty treat, but when the moth lands, it once again blends in.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination