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Abbreviated Underwing Moth (Catocala abbreviatella)


There is no overview information available for that species.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Abbreviated Underwing Moth (Catocala abbreviatella). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.

Documented locations of Catocala abbreviatella in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS3
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY

Species guidance

Identification: A grey moth with sharp black lines perpendicular to the leading edge on forewings. Hindwing yellow-orange with two black bands, the marginal band broken.

Similar Species: C. amestris has double black lines on the forewing and the hindwing more yellow. C. sordida has a conspicuous deeply zigzag whitish line across the forewing. C. nuptialis has a large black spot near the leading edge of the forewing and the hindwing marginal band is not broken but rather indented. C. whitneyi has a solid black triangle on the forewing and emerges later.

Habitat: Dry prairie, hill prairie.

Nectar Source: Found on milkweed flowers in MO.

Host Plant: Leadplant, Amorpha canescens.

Associated Species: Catocala amestris and whitneyi also feed on leadplant in Wisconsin, though C. amestris is not often found with C. abbreviatella as is C. whitneyi.

State Distribution: Dane, Grant, Sauk, Trempealeau Cos.

Global Distribution: Minnesota and Manitoba to Texas, sporadic record east to PA.

Rationale for Species Listing and Threats: Both eggs and larvae are vulnerable to spring or fall fires.

Phenology: Adults in Late June to August.

Life and Natural History: Eggs are laid on the plant or in the litter nearby. Eggs overwinter.Larvae hide in debris during the day and feed during the night on the foliage.Larvae are found at the uppermost tips of old growth when the leaf buds begin to unfurl in late May. After larval development, the caterpillars will cease feeding and shorten in preparation for pupation. Larvae wrap themselves in silk and assume a curled position. Larva are usually pupating by June 19. Pupation occurs typically in the litter. Most Noctuids are nocturnal and females attract males by the release of pheromones.

Survey Guidelines: Attracted to artificial light. Many Catocala species are attracted by "sugaring" along forest paths and edges in late summer and early fall (Rings, et al. 1992). Search plants for larvae in early June and blacklight in July for adults. Peak periods between 11:00 pm and 2:00 am (Borth and Barina, 1991).



Abbreviated Underwing Moth

Photo © Les Ferge.

Last revised: Wednesday, September 19, 2018