Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Underwing Under Water

This moth was floating in a tub of water outside after the recent rains. It was still alive and energetic enough to stand up and walk around once it had dried sufficiently. Unfortunately its left wings must have been damaged while it was struggling in the water, or perhaps they just dried at an odd angle.

It appears to be an underwing-type moth, but that is where it gets tricky. True underwings are in genus Catocala, but there are several genera that feature similarly bold hindwing patterns, paired with a cryptic forewing. The forewings on this moth are very worn; the involuntary bath must soaked a lot of them off, especially near the bases of the wings. This makes the forewing pattern very difficult to interpret.

The hindwing pattern seems to fit Catocala sordida, the Sordid Underwing, or something like it. In particular, it has two black bands crossing an orange ground color, with the inner band making a complete  loop and the outer band having a white spot at the apex and a gap near the inner margin. However, the hindwing also has a black costa (leading edge), which seems unusual for a Catocala. So that leaves me somewhat uncertain of the moth's true identity.