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Fall Fund Drive


Species Catocala vidua - Widow Underwing - Hodges#8792

widow underwing on wall - Catocala vidua  Underwing Moth - Catocala vidua Possible Ilia Underwing Moth - Catocala vidua Catocala ilia? - Catocala vidua Widow Underwing  - Catocala vidua Catocala vidua - Widow Underwing  - Catocala vidua Catocala vidua (Widow Underwing) - Catocala vidua Lepidoptera - Catocala vidua
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 vidua (Widow Underwing - Hodges#8792)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Catocala vidua (J.E. Smith, 1797)
Phylogenetic sequence # 930782
Explanation of Names
Species name vidua is Latin for widow. (Based on Internet searches.)
Lafontaine & Schmidt (2010) included 101 species of the genus Catocala in America north of Mexico. (1)
Powell & Opler (2009) reported 110 species in all of North America, and about 230 worldwide. (2)
Wingspan 69-85 mm
Adult: forewing pale gray with black arc beginning mid-costa and running just above reniform spot to apex; upper AM and PM lines with heavy black shading; straight black streak runs parallel to inner margin from base to outer margin (streak is broken only by AM and ST lines, and may be described as a basal dash, median dash, and anal dash - all inline); reniform spot surrounded by white ring; subreniform spot with open "tail" connecting to PM line; hindwing black with broad white fringe
southern Ontario and Maine to Florida, west to Texas, north to Wisconsin
Deciduous forests containing food plants; adults are nocturnal and attracted to light
adults July-October
Larvae feed on primarily on leaves of hickory, pecan, walnut (Juglandaceae); other hosts include oak, willow, and Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia).
Adults come to moth bait, so presumably feed on plant sap, etc.
Life Cycle
one generation per year; overwinters as an egg laid on tree bark in the fall
See Also
Dejected Underwing (Catocala dejecta) lacks a black arc running from mid-costa to apex; Yellow-gray Underwing (C. retecta) lacks a straight black streak running parallel to inner margin from base to outer margin (compare CBIF images of all three species)
Sad Underwing (C. maestosa) and Marbled Underwing (C. marmorata) lack a straight black streak running parallel to inner margin [the latter species also has orange bands on hindwing] (compare MPG images of all three species)
Print References
Lafontaine J. D., and B. C. Schmidt 2010. Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America North of Mexico. p. 30.(1)
Covell, p. 306, plate 34#14 (3)
Internet References
Maryland Moths pinned adult images and food plants (Larry Line, Maryland)
Dallas Butterflies pinned adult image and food plants (Dale Clark, Texas)
live and pinned adult images plus distribution, description, food plants, flight season, biology (Bill Oehlke,
Works Cited
1.Annotated check list of the Noctuoidea (Insecta, Lepidoptera) of North America north of Mexico.
Donald J. Lafontaine, B. Christian Schmidt. 2010. ZooKeys 40: 1–239 .
2.Moths of Western North America
Powell and Opler. 2009. UC Press.
3.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.