Catocala ulalume

Catocala ulalume
kah-TOCK-uh-lah mm EWE-lah-loom
Strecker, 1878


Catocala ulalume Louisiana, courtesy of Vernon A. Brou.

This site has been created by Bill Oehlke at oehlkew@islandtelecom.com
Comments, suggestions and/or additional information are welcomed by Bill.

TAXONOMY:

Superfamily: Noctuoidea
Family: Noctuidae
Group: Noctuinina
Subfamily: Catocalinae
Genus: Catocala, Schrank, 1802

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DISTRIBUTION:

The Ulalume Underwing, Catocala ulalume (wingspan: 60-75mm), flies from Virginia through Georgia to Florida, west to Texas and Oklahoma and north to Illinois.

The forewing colouration is a mottled light to dark grey with no strongly contrasting lines, dashes or bars. At the inner margin the antemedial line ends with in a very light coloured crescent. The subrenifrom spot is also light coloured and "comma" shaped.

The hindwing is black and the fringe is pure white with thin, sharp (pointed) checking.

Strecker probably chose the species name from the Edgar Alan Poe poem, "Ulalume":

".............
But were stopped by the door of a tomb--
By the door of a legended tomb;
And I said:"What is written, sweet sister,
On the door of this legended tomb?"
She replied:"Ulalume--Ulalume--
'Tis the vault of thy lost Ulalume!"
.............."

I have not Latinized the final "e" in ulalume as the name (rhymes with tomb) is taken directly from the poem.

FLIGHT TIMES AND PREFERRED FOOD PLANTS:

Catocala ulalume flies as a single generation with moths on the wing from June to September. The Catocala ulalume caterpillar feeds on Carya alba and probably other Carya species.

ECLOSION:

Adults eclose from pupae formed under leaf litter.

SCENTING AND MATING:

Catocala ulalume females emit an airbourne pheromone and males use their antennae to track the scent plume.

EGGS, CATERPILLARS, COCOONS, AND PUPAE:

Eggs are deposited on tree bark in the fall and hatch the following spring.

Mature larvae

Image courtesy of

Larval Food Plants


Listed below are primary food plant(s) and alternate food plants. It is hoped that this alphabetical listing followed by the common name of the foodplant will prove useful. The list is not exhaustive, although some species seem very host specific. Experimenting with closely related foodplants is worthwhile.

Carya alba.......

Mockernut hickory/white hickory

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