I spotted tens of these moths fluttering around in the mulberry tree foliage, and I had to capture one in the swimming pool leaf-cleaning net and bring it indoors to photograph, as they stayed hidden in the foliage outside.
Most species of Catocala, or underwing moths, are mid-sized, cryptically coloured except for the hindwings, which are marked with stripes in orange, red, white, or even blue. In some, the hindwings are mostly blackish. Unlike what the common name ‘underwings’ seems to suggest, the colour is brightest on the upperside. However, the bright hindwings are not visible at rest, being hidden under the dull forewings – hence the name. An underwing moth, well camouflaged in its daytime resting spot on a tree trunk or branch, will suddenly flash open the hindwings when disturbed. A bird or other small predator that is not used to this display is likely to be frightened, allowing the moth to escape. The adults are predominantly nocturnal, flying from shortly after dusk right up to daybreak. They are generally most active about two hours after nightfall.
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