The Oldwife Underwing seems drab and ordinary until seen in flight where its bright orange hindwings are exposed in a marvelous flash of color.
Underwings hide their colors when resting by laying them flat. The smaller hindwings of the Oldwife Underwing are a rich orange color with irregular black bands crossing them. A light fringe decorates the edges. These wings are only visible when the wings are spread wide, usually in the take-off position and in flight. The larger, less conspicuous forewings are gray with black scalloped lines that cross almost every third portion of the wing. A light brown band fills in some space between the bottom black line and the bottom of the wings. An large brown spot sits at the center of the wing, closer to its edge than the body. Closer to the midline, a second paler gray spot lies next to each brown one. The Oldwife Underwing bears many similarities to its close relatives like The Bride and the Youthful Underwing.
Adults can be found flying at night and by lights in areas near deciduous forests. They are most active from summer through early autumn. Caterpillars eat hickory and walnut tree leaves.
Scientific Name: Catocala palaeogama
Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 60mm to 70mm (2.34in to 2.73in)
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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.