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Underwings / Catocala sponsa

Underwings / Catocala sponsa
Photo Information
Copyright: Marcello Romano (marcellr) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 208 W: 38 N: 1012] (3514)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-07-25
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon Coolpix 4300
Exposure: f/2.8, 1/193 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2008-02-07 10:20
Viewed: 5848
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

Catocala sponsa (Linnaeus, 1767) / The Dark Crimson Underwing

IN WORKSHOP: Camouflage on Pinus bark.

Wingspan 60-70 mm.
The fore wings of this species vary in general color from ashy grey to an almost olive brown; the dark clouding is much in evidence in some specimens, but absent in others; the white or yellow marks in the vicinity of the white outlined reniform are noticeable features.
Hind wings, crimson, more or less tinged with purple.


Catocala is a genus of noctuid moths commonly known as Underwings. Most species have brightly coloured underwings, orange, red, or white. The genus name comes from Greek: "kato" means below or behind and "kalos" means beautiful, describing the colorful hindwings of these moths. The bright hindwings are not visible at rest, being hidden by the dull forewings, but they help the moth avoid predators such as birds if they are disturbed during the day. The genus occurs in Eurasia and North America.
The common names of many species are translations of the species epithets; Linnaeus chose a female/marriage theme when naming a few of the earlier-described species, and the practice was continued by later authors (hence we have The Bride, The Girlfriend, Old Wife, The Widow, Once-married Underwing, The Newlywed, The Darling, etc.)
Generally large heavy-bodied noctuids; wingspan ranges from 20 to 98 mm.
Forewing usually dull brownish/grayish with low-contrast pattern of wavy/zigzag lines, giving an overall appearance that resembles the bark of trees (upon which adults usually rest during the day); hindwing usually black with brightly-colored bands (orange, yellow, pink, red).
Habitat : Forests, especially deciduous forests. Larvae of most species feed on foliage of deciduous trees.

uleko, nirmalroberts, boreocypriensis, phlr, Silvio2006, haraprasan, mariki, peter_stoeckl, Christopher_PL, meyerd has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To lousat: Catocalamarcellr 1 02-08 09:46
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Marcello,
Very colourful moth nicely captured in its natural camouflage. TFS.
- Nirmal

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-02-07 10:30]

Hello Marcello,
I was just about to switch off my computer as this appeared! A fantastic capture of the dark Crimson Underwing looking just like embroidery on velvet! Superb details and terrific colours of this wonderful moth in a fine composition.
Many thanks for showing this! Ulla

Que bonito ese insecto Marcellooo !! Creo que el justo enfoque no le favorece mucho jeje, pero sin duda un buen documento y creo que poco visto por Treknature.


Hello Marcello

What a wonderful nocturnal butterfly with vivid colours on the rock ground! TFS friend.


Ciao Marcello,
very beautiful and colourful moth well captured in superp sharpness, vivid colour and details
well done and the useful notes

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-02-07 15:47]
  • [+]

Ciao Marcello,stavolta non e' proprio il top della perfezione e scommetto che l'hai beccata solo in questa occasione e ti stai ancora mangiando le mani(spero di aver indovinato perche' quello che scrivo e' quello che succede spesso a me..ehehe).Mi raccomando per l'imminente 100ma foto preparaci una grande sorpresa....grazie e buona giornata,Luciano

hello marcello,
nice capture, the insect has nice pattern on the wings, suitable pov, liked the composition too,
tfs & regards

Hi Marcello,
A nice capture of this beautiful moth. I have captured a similar species and shall post it some time. Very good details and composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hello Marcello,

Wonderful picture of this moth. Good sharpness. Wonderful colours. Very nice background also. The picture in the WS is splendid too.

Ciao Marcello, magnifica falena dai colori splendidi, anche questa per me Ŕ una novitÓ, per il resto ghrande tecnica e meravigliosi dettagli, speriamo presto di riscire a farne di nuove, io ancora un mesetto lo devo aspettare per veder volare qualcosa, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-02-08 11:54]

Hello Marcello,
Excellent photo with fascinating colours and sharpness. Good composition, DOF and POV. I love the photo in the WS too.

Hello Marcello,
perfect demonstration of a most effective combination of perfect camouflage coming with striking warning colours to be exposed when needed.
With thanks, and best regards,

Great shot of this Noctuidae. It's not easy to capture moths of this genus ;-)


Hi Marcello,
I always wondered how to make a picture of Catocala once I found one. The problem is that they hide those impressive colors under their forewings during the day. Now you give me the answer: your picture shows the butterfly with slightly extended forewings, to excellent effect. Well done, Marcello!
Best regards

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