Underwing Moth

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

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