Catocala amatrix

Catocala amatrix
kah-TOCK-uh-lahmm a-MAY-tricks
(Hübner, [1813]) Noctua amatrix

Catocala amatrix, Peterborough, Ontario, August 28, 2004, courtesy of Tim Dyson copyright.

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


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


"Moon River"
copyright C. Odenkirk

<bgsound src="moon.mid" LOOP=FOREVER>


Catocala amatrix (wingspan 75-95mm), the Sweetheart Underwing, flies from Nova Scotia, Canada, south through Connecticut to Florida and west through Texas and Oklahoma to Arizona and north to Montana, Minnesota and Ontario.

Subspecies editha Edwards, 1875, is found in western portions of range. In "Systematics of Moths in the Genus Catocala (Noctuidae). III. The Types of William H. Edwards, Augustus R. Grote and Achille Guinee", by Lawrence F. Gall and David C. Hawks, Journal of the Lepidopterists Society, Volume 56 Number 4, 9 December 2002, editha is placed as a synonym of amatrix.

Moths respond to lights and to bait, much better to bait according to Sargent.

Similar species: This moth is somewhat similar to C. cara, and it is believed they will hybridize in the wild on occasion.


Catocala amatrix are usually on the wing from August to October in southern Quebec with earlier flight further south.

Catocala amatrix, July 23, Dallas, Texas, courtesy of Dale Clark.

Sargent suggests the name "hesseli" for melanic specimens in honour of Sidney A. Hessel.

Form "selecta" lacks the diffuse black bar running from the basal area to the apex as depicted in the specimen to the right, courtesy of Robert Muller, Connecticut.

"Pallida" Barnes and McDunnough, 1918, is a very pale form.

Catocala amatrix "selecta" Walker, [1858], Arizona, courtesy of Bruce Walsh.

This species is very skittish and frequently hides in caves, under bridges, under tree bark, etc. by day, resting with head down.

Camouflage on tree bark is well illustrated in the Cindy Mead (Michigan) image to the right.

The Catocala amatrix caterpillar shows a preference for poplars and willows.


Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.


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

The Sweetheart Underwing, August 8, 2004, courtesy of Tom Murray copyright


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

Catocala amatrix eggs, courtesy of Tim Dyson. copyright

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.

Populus deltoides.........
Populus grandidenta
Populus nigra
Populus tremuloides
Salix nigra

Big tooth aspen
Lombardy Poplar
Quaking Aspen
Black Willow

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