Catocala messalina

Catocala messalina
kah-TOCK-uh-lah mm mess-suh-LEE-nuh
Guenee, 1852


Catocala messalina male, 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:

Catocala messalina, the Messalina underwing, (wingspan: 40-45mm) flies from Virginia south to Florida and west to Texas and north to Kansas, mostly in evergreen oak habitats.

The forewing is a plain, dull, grey-green, darkening toward the outer margin.

The hindwing is like that of the false underwing, having no inner black band. The outer band is quite wide.

FLIGHT TIMES AND PREFERRED FOOD PLANTS:

Catocala messalina are on the wing in May (Texas record) and probably June-August elsewhere.

The Catocala messalina caterpillar probably feeds on live oak (Quercus virginiana), sand live oak (Q. geminata), or sand laurel oak (Q. hemisphaerica).

Quercus geminata is the most likely host in North Carolina.

Only occasionally is this species seen in Maritime Evergreen Forest.

ECLOSION:

Adults eclose from pupae at soil surface.

SCENTING AND MATING:

Catocala messalina 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.

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.

Quercus geminata
Quercus hemisphaerica.......
Quercus virginiana

Sand live oak
Sand laurel oak
Live oak

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