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Catocala nupta

(Linnaeus, 1767)

  • Subfamily: Erebinae, Catocalini
  • Wingspan: 65-80 mm
  • Flight period: Jul - Sep
  • Spread: Common
  • Host plants: Salix sp., Populus sp.


The Catocala nupta is a moth of the Erebidae family, subfamily Erebinae, with a wingspan of 65-80 mm.
Moth widespread throughout Europe with the exception of Russia and Ireland *; in Italy it is present everywhere except the islands *

The front wing is brown in color with streaks and serrated lines of brown / black and ocher shades. The hind wings are red, with the external margin of black color, as well as a band of the same color and parallel to the margin in the discal region, which ends in the anal area.

The Catocala nupta frequents floodplain areas, coastal areas and other warm places rich in Salicaceae bushes and trees. Adults are easily attracted to both light and sugary substances. Like other representatives of the Catocala genus, they have front wings that allow cryptic mimicry. The bright red hind wings are intended to disorient predators such as birds.
In fact, when disturbed they immediately take flight showing a sudden "red flash" and then lean back and become "invisible" again.

The larvae feed between May and June depending on the latitude. They are well camouflaged on branches and trunks, both thanks to the shape and color, very similar to the branches of the host plant, both for the position, which sees the larva completely adhering to the branches of the host plant, and to a non-training eye it seems only a protuberance of the branch. Pupation takes place inside a leaf of the host plants, rolled up with silky threads. The pupa is brown almost completely covered with a whitish patina. **

Adults occur mainly between mid-July and September although the first specimens are visible as early as June. Endangered species in central Europe as riparian forests have significantly reduced.

The larvae feed on Salix sp. (willows) and Populus sp. (poplars).

* Lepidoptera mundi - Fauna Europea
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten -

Catocala nupta
Catocala nupta
Catocala nupta