Underwing Moth, we believe

What is this moth
Location: Waco Texas
May 12, 2011 9:42 am
What is this moth? Found it in Central Texas on an oak tree in May 2011.
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Thank you
Signature: Ann

Probably Underwing Moth

Dear Ann,
We believe this is an Underwing Moth in the genus
Catocala.  Underwing Moths usually have brownish grey patterned forewings that resemble tree bark which camouflages the moths quite well while they are at rest.  The underwings are often more brightly colored and more boldly marked.  When the moth is forced to fly during daylight hours, the bright forewings capture the attention of a predator who is then unable to locate the moth once it comes to rest because it blends in so well with its surroundings.

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