2452 Red Underwing Catocala nupta (Linnaeus, 1767)

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Wingspan 65-75 mm.

DescriptionA large Moth common in S britain Catocala nupta, is a moth of the huge (25000 species) Its brown patterned forewings provide excellent camouflage and as it takes off, the sudden flash of colour may confuse the attacker, and when it lands and immediately closes its wings it may seem to disappear Brown patterned forewings provide excellent camouflage, and the red-and-black striped hindwings only show in flight.It is also thought that the symmetrical orange patterned sections on the rear wings form the illusion of another smaller creature , so the attacker will go for the colourful safe region on the main body preserving the moth.

Phenology It flies in August and September, and comes freely to both light and sugar.

FoodWillows (Salix sp.), poplars (Populus sp.) and oak (Quercus sp.) .d the caterpillar larva feeds willow (Salix) and poplar (Populus).The brown caterpillars, which are seen from April to May, look like pieces of bark.

It is predated on by Ophion luteus - an ichneumon wasp - Family: Ichneumonidae a parasitoid: meaning that it kills its host rather than just feeding on it.

HabitatPreferred habitats are woodland, parkland and marshes, Catocala nupta inhabits especially soft wood edges along rivers and lakes, but is also observed in many other habitats provided the larval host plants occur.H osts  Salix and Populus species