Butterflies and Moths of Southern Vancouver Island--Jeremy B. Tatum



Catocala aholibah



The "cats" (Catocala) are among the most exciting of all the noctuids, whether as adults or as caterpillars. Although the caterpillars are huge and spectacular, they are also one of the most cryptic of all caterpillars and are extremely difficult to find as they flatten themselves tightly along the length of a twig. I once had a full-grown one sitting on a single, unbranched twig, and held it a few inches in front of several colleagues, who were quite unable to see it. When discovered, however, the caterpillar can jump! The pupa is covered with a delicate whitish bloom. The moth emerges after just three or so weeks in the pupa, and is immediately active - so much so that I had to photograph it immediately while it was still perched in an aesthetically unpleasing place on a rearing cage. Although there are some other moths (Archaearis, Peridroma, Noctua) that are called "underwings", the unqualified name "underwing" is generally understood to refer to this genus on account of the startling bright colours (red in the majority of species) of the hind wings. The caterpillar of C. aholibah feeds on oak.

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