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Species Catocala amica-lineella - Girlfriend & Little Lined Underwing - Hodges#8878/8878.1

Catocala lineella - Catocala amica-lineella Cat to Moth - Catocala amica-lineella Cat to Moth - Catocala amica-lineella very sad, Catocala, lateral - Catocala amica-lineella Catocala, dorsal - Catocala amica-lineella Catocala, plucked from the web - Catocala amica-lineella Catocala, face - Catocala amica-lineella
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Noctuoidea (Owlet Moths and kin)
Family Erebidae
Subfamily Erebinae
Tribe Catocalini
Genus Catocala (Underwings)
Species amica-lineella (Girlfriend & Little Lined Underwing - Hodges#8878/8878.1)
Hodges Number
8878/8878.1
Pronunciation
a-MEE-kuh

lye-nee-EL-lah
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
amica (Hübner, 1818)

lineella (Grote, 1872)
- formerly considered a subspecies of Catocala amica; currently treated as a distinct species at All-Leps, the classification followed by BugGuide
Size
wingspan 35-40 mm
Identification
Adult: FW of typical form dark gray to blackish with heavy black lines; pale gray or whitish band across AM area, and small pale patches along PM line; subreniform spot pale and boldy outlined in black; light grayish-brown patch in upper median area next to PM line; reniform spot partially obscured by dark shading in median area; form "curvifascia" has dark curving band beginning mid-way along costa, curving under reniform spot, and ending at outer margin near apex; hindwing mostly yellowish-orange with large black area at apex, extending part-way along costa and outer margin; small black spot at anal angle

Larva: brown twig mimic; usually lies lengthwise on top of twig; black dorsal spot on abdomen two-thirds distance from head; head dark gray to black; top of head with white or orange spot on each side; body gray with several pale faint lines; fifth abdominal segment slightly humped and usually followed by darkened saddle; eighth abdominal segment with two dorsal orange warts
[adapted from description by Bill Oehlke]

*Update March 2016: The adults of both species, amica and lineella, are indistinguishable by photo (larva indistinguishable as well, Wagner 361). Traditionally, amica was distinguished by being lighter color overall, with less bold lines, and less blackish shading in the basal and median areas, while lineella was said to be darker overall with bolder lines and more black shading. However, as numerous specimens of both species have been sequenced and identified via DNA analysis, not only have those traditional characteristics been shown unreliable ( > 50% inaccuracy rate), but even the COI sequence data between some individual amica and lineella specimens have been so close as to be statistically identical. (See here for brief discussion on this.)
Range
Ontario and Quebec to Florida, west to Texas, north to Minnesota and North Dakota.
Habitat
wooded areas with oak trees; adults are nocturnal and come to light
Season
adults fly in June through September
Food
larvae feed on leaves of oak (Quercus spp.)
Life Cycle
eggs are deposited on tree bark in the fall and hatch the following spring; larvae ascend the tree to feed on foliage, then descend the trunk and pupate on the ground; adults emerge from pupae at ground level; one generation per year; overwinters as an egg

Larva; adult
See Also
Girlfriend Underwing (Catocala amica) forewing is paler overall, with thinner lines and less blackish shading, especially in basal and median areas (compare images of both species at CBIF, and compare images by Pierre Legault of 2 male lineella on the left, versus male & female amica on the right)
Internet References
live and pinned adult images including form "curvifascia", plus live larva image, common name reference, distribution, description, biology, flight season, and other info (Bill Oehlke, silkmoths.bizland.com)
pinned adult image (James Adams, Dalton State College, Georgia)
foodplants; PDF doc plus flight season and life cycle (Macrolepidoptera of Mont Saint-Hilaire Region, McGill U., Quebec)
presence in Florida; list (John Heppner, Florida State Collection of Arthropods)
distribution in Canada list of provinces (U. of Alberta, using CBIF data)
classification history plus named forms and references (Markku Savela, FUNET)