Home / Erebidae Moth / Red Underwing Moth (Catocala nupta)

Red Underwing Moth (Catocala nupta)

The red underwing moth is a member of the family of Erebidae moths. Similar to other Catocala moths, they have brightly-colored hindwings. In the case of these moths, a red hue which also gives them their name.  

Red Underwing Moth

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Scientific Classification


  • Family: Erebidae
  • Genus: Catocala
  • Scientific Name: Catocala nupta

Description and Identification

Caterpillar

The larvae are pale or dark gray, with a reddish tint.

Red Underwing Moth Larvae

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Pupa

Pupation takes place hidden between leaves.

Red Underwing Moth Pupa

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Adult Moth

Sexual Dimorphism: Present but not prominent.

Color and Appearance

Forewing: When the wings are open, they are gray with jagged bands and crisscrossed lines. When the wings are closed, the patterns remain observable.

Hindwing: When the wings are open, they show their characteristic red color. There are two black bands present, one at the center and another at the end fringed with white. When the wings are closed, the bright red color is not visible.

Average wingspan: 6.6 – 8 cm

Flight pattern: Consistent

Season: mid-July to early October

Catocala nupta

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Egg

These moths undergo a period of hibernation, overwintering as an egg.

Quick Facts

DistributionAll of Great Britain, including England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales
HabitatGardens, parks, scrubs, riverbanks, and woodlands
Lifespan of AdultsNot recorded
Host PlantsPoplar and willow
PredatorsBirds
Adult DietDoes not feed

Did You Know

  • This moth has several sub-species including Catocala nupta nupta, Catocala nupta clara, Catocala nupta obscurata, Catocala nupta japonica, and Catocala nupta nozawae.
  • To avoid predation, these moths will suddenly flash their bright underwings when approached as a method of confusion and then settle down on a tree with coloration similar to their forewings. Also, due to the sharp contrast in color, the hindwings may be mistaken for a butterfly and targeted instead of the rest of the moth’s body.
  • Eminent Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus first described this species in the 12th edition of his book Systema Naturae.
Red Underwing Moth Photo

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Red Underwing Moth Picture

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Red Underwing Moth Image

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