Catocala meskei Grote, 1873
Range: Found in the northern half of the United States from New York and Ohio west to Nebraska, Montana and southern Canada.
Larval Hostplant(s): Cottonwood, Poplar (Populus) and Willow (Salix).
NENHP Ranking: Not listed.
Broods/Flight Times: A single summer brood, mainly in June and July, but with occasional September records which might be Orion Underwings (C. orion).
Habitat: Higher elevation or more northern deciduous woodlands and prairies with/near host plants.
Avg. Wingspan: Medium size, 2 1/2 – 3 Inches.
Overwintering: As eggs on tree bark.
Identification: FW evenly patterned (has a dirty or dust-covered appearance), with few contrasts or strong markings compared to similar species; PM line often single (at least in leading half of wing) with no white border on distal side; subreniform spot and area basal to reniform spot form a continuous whitish patch with a thin dark vein running through the middle. HW banded black and reddish-orange; black median band relatively thin, tapered and usually angled inward at tip; apex with light orangish or yellowish patch (1)
Similar Species: FW less distinctly marked than Once Married Underwing (C. unijuga) with subreniform spot opened or connected with the pm line. HW has orange red at apex lacking in unijuga. Flies earlier than Orion Underwing (C. orion) which is also slightly smaller and tends to have narrower FWs. In C. orion the FW ground color is a cooler gray and more heavily stippled with black and white. The black band on C. orion‘s HW is more sharply angled in the middle. (2)
Notes: Identifying features illustrated.
Literature Cited: (1) BugGuide.net (2) Lawrence Gall, personal communication.