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Species Catocala crataegi - Hawthorn Underwing - Hodges#8858

Hawthorn Underwing - Catocala crataegi A catocala sp. - Catocala crataegi Underwing IMG_5474 - Catocala crataegi caterpillar on apple - Catocala crataegi Hawthorn Underwing - Catocala crataegi Hawthorn Underwing - Catocala crataegi Catocala blandula - Catocala crataegi Catocala crataegi B - Catocala crataegi
Show images of: caterpillars · adults · both
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 crataegi (Hawthorn Underwing - Hodges#8858)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Catocala crataegi Saunders, 1876 (1), (2)
Explanation of Names
Specific epithet for the host plant genus (Crataegus).
Wingspan 40-50 mm. (3)
Adult - forewing with dark blackish shading in basal area continuing along inner margin to anal angle; postmedial (PM) line bordered distally by broad reddish-brown band - this band is pale and its distal margin is diffuse and indistinct; reniform spot large, indistinct, kidney-shaped; median area of wing sometimes has greenish cast. Hindwing yellowish-orange with black terminal band usually broken near anal angle.
Eastern North America: Nova Scotia to Florida, west to Arkansas, north to Wisconsin and Ontario.
Type locality: London, Ontario, Canada. (4)
Adults fly from late June to August.
Larvae feed on the leaves of hawthorn, apple, crabapple and pear. (5)
Life Cycle
Life cycle images:
larva on Crataegus opaca; adult
It appears there may not be any current diagnostic criteria for reliably and consistently separating blandula/mira/crataegi and maybe even pretiosa.

As an example, here are the *expected* appearance and differences between blandula, mira and crataegi respectively, as the written descriptions would place them:
(images courtesy of MPG, copyright Jim Vargo)

           C. blandula                            C. mira                             C. crataegi

Now, here are three different images (all courtesy of BOLD Systems) of each of those species, showing the variation that will often preclude any reliable distinction based on the accepted descriptions.

C. blandula

C. mira

C. crataegi

It seems C. pretiosa may be more likely to be distinguished in many cases due to it's strongly contrasting pale median area, but even specimens of that species can often blend right in with the others, such as the two specimens below:

Since these species share range, food, and season, the best approach to identifying and placing them here on BugGuide (where dissection and/or DNA sequencing has not been done) is probably a combined species complex page (i.e., a blandula-mira-crataegi species page). Until that is decided and created, individual specimens are likely to be placed to the page of whichever species they most "look like" per the old descriptions.
See Also
Catocala blandula
Print References
Barnes, Wm. & J.H. McDunnough, 1918. Illustrations of the North American species of the genus Catocala. Memoirs of the AMNH 2(1): p.39; Pl.10, f.4-5; Pl.12, f.18 (larva). (2)
Saunders, W., 1876. Notes on Catocalas. The Canadian Entomologist 8(4): 72.
Works Cited
1.The genus Catocala.
George. D. Hulst. 1884. Bulletin of the Brooklyn Entomological Society 7(1): 14-56.
2.Illustrations of the North American species of the genus Catocala.
William Barnes, James Halliday McDunnough. 1918. Memoirs of the AMNH 2(1).
3.Bill Oehlke's North American Catocala
4.Systematics of moths in the genus Catocala (Lepidoptera, Erebidae) IV. Nomenclatorial stabilization of the ....
Lawrence Gall, David Hawks. 2010. Zookeys 39: 37-83.
5.HOSTS - The Hostplants and Caterpillars Database
6.North American Moth Photographers Group