A bright red-orange hindwing gets lots of attention when the Ilia Underwing comes around, and fortunately that is quite often east of the Mississippi River.
Though the overall color of the Ilia Underwing may be brown or gray, its flashy hindwings are bright and bold, ranging from deep fuchsia to salmon pink. Unlike many underwings, this species has two black bands that cross the hindwings instead of just one. A reniform spot with a white ring on each forewing is common though it may be less obvious on some individuals.
The caterpillar feeds on oak leaves. Ridges or bumps on each segment are contoured with black markings, accentuating their elevation. Irregular black marks also stretch along the sides of the body. The overall color of the caterpillar typically blends in well with tree bark, so it is common to find gray or brown individuals. Some, however, are mint-green, just like a lichen-covered tree trunk. The head is pale or white with a black band near the neck. The caterpillar looks chunky and rough, and its ventral (belly) side is tinted with a blush of red or pink.
Scientific Name: Catocala ilia
Other Name(s): The Wife; Beloved Underwing
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 34mm to 45mm (1.33in to 1.76in)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.