Red Underwing

Once you get into mothing you will see lots and lots of moths with names that refer to the colour of their hindwings. They refer to it as an “underwing” because the forewings which are usually less colourful but might be wonderfully patterned nevertheless, cover the hind wings where that flash of colour is seen. It’s presumably an adaptation to give predators with colour vision, such as birds, a bit of a shock when the moth flicks its wings open.

Red Underwing Catocala nupta (Linnaeus, 1767)
Beautiful Red Underwing Catocala nupta (Linnaeus, 1767) even when the wings are closed

As regulars will know, the first one that got me into the scientific mothing lark was the Copper Underwing, but there are Large Yellow, Lesser Yellow, Least Yellow, Broad-bordered, Lesser Broad-bordered, Lunar, Straw, there are at least a dozen more, the list goes Today first time for me a very large Red Underwing (about 40mm from nose to the end of its forewing). The wingspan is between 65 and 75 mm.

Wings spread Red Underwing Catocala nupta (Linnaeus, 1767)
Wings partially spread Red Underwing

It’s quite a common moth over much of England and Wales. A night-flyer in August and September, it will come to lights and sugaring. Its larvae feed on Poplar and Willow.

Red Underwing Catocala nupta (Linnaeus, 1767)
Face to face with a Red Underwing showing its curled proboscis
Side view Red Underwing Catocala nupta (Linnaeus, 1767)
Side view of a Red Underwing
Closeup of the underwing of a Red Underwing Catocala nupta (Linnaeus, 1767)
Closeup of the underwing of a Red Underwing

Author: 雷竞技官网

Award-winning freelance science writer, author of Deceived Wisdom. Sharp-shooting photographer and wannabe rockstar.