image source: wwb.co.uk
image source: english-country-garden.com
Habitat: across Europe
Status: No conservation concerns
It’s amazing how a little pop of color can really change your appearance. This Red Underwing Moth (Catocala nupta) is a great example of just that. At rest, the moth’s bright red, orange, or pink underwings are hidden in an attempt to conceal it from predators. However, once it takes flight, the dazzling colors become visible.
Scientists believe that the sudden flash of color may confuse hungry predators, especially when it lands and immediately closes its wings, thereby quickly “turning off” the color. Another theory suggests that the symmetrical orange/red/pink sections form the illusion of a small butterfly, so a predator might be more apt to go after that ‘creature’ and avoid the vulnerable moth body instead.
Whatever the purpose, it certainly takes this moth from drab to fab!