Wild Fact #785 – Green with Envy – Luna Moth

Wild Fact #785 – Green with Envy – Luna Moth

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Luna_moth.jpg

So here we are again at the beginning of another week of exciting Wild Facts.  I thought we would start the week off with an insect but don’t worry it is a “pretty” one.  In my humble opinion the Luna Moth is one of the coolest looking moths out there.  Their nice green colour and large size has made the Luna Moth one of the most popular silk moths in North America. I am sure they are so popular that they get hounded by the paparazzi and have their photos landing on the cover of the tabloids.  A famous frog said “it isn’t easy being green” and I bet these moths would agree.  Okay, I am done clowning around, I will move onto the fact now.

The wingspan of the luna moth is about 4 and a half inches which makes it one of the largest moths in North America.  As you may have noticed they have pale green wings that have either pink or yellow margins.  Interestingly enough, it is the Southern moths born in the spring that will have the pink borders while the Northern moths and the Southern individuals born in the summer that have the yellow margins. I guess this explains why all the moths I have witnessed in Ontario had the yellow borders.

The adult luna moths are very strong fliers which makes sense considering the size of their wings.  Although, when they first exit the cocoon it will take them up to two hours to get their wings.  You see when they first emerge their wings are small and soft.  They have to pump bodily fluids to their wings and wait about 2 hours before they are able to fly.  Like a typical silk moth the adult luna moth has no mouth parts and as such, does not feed.  Therefore they will only live for about 1 week in the adult form and during this time their sole purpose is to find a mate. Mating will take place after midnight (I don’t know how they know the time) and the eggs will be laid the following evening.  The eggs will hatch in about a week and the caterpillars will go through about five in-stars before they create their cocoon and start the whole cycle over.  Well, they will start the cycle over in the south where they may have two or three generations.  In the north, however, they only have one generation due to the climate.

Well that is it for the luna moth on this wonderful Monday.  Enjoy the rest of your day!

Photo by Benny Mazur

15 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Agapelife June 21, 2010

    The moths, I’ve seen had always been in the browns and beiges, so it lovely to see this colorful luna moth.

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      Nathan June 22, 2010

      I have to agree with you Agapelife! This is definitely one of the better and more vibrant looking moths.

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    Mariann June 29, 2010

    The info on this website was just the right amount. I photographed ‘my’ moth in Ontario and was happy to get more insight into it. It had a pink border.

    • Avatar
      Nathan June 29, 2010

      Hi Mariann,

      Thanks for stopping by Wild Facts! That is awesome that you were able to capture the beauty of the Luna Moth. As I mentioned, I haven’t seen many with pink borders growing up in Northern Ontario. Both coloured moths are a beautiful sight though.

      Have a great night.

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    Tiffany April 10, 2011

    I found the Luna moth today and researched it and took a few pictures it is amazing at all the weird facts about them butthey are beautiful

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    jessica June 02, 2011

    i work up this morrning and i found on on my screen door and it still there i just lernded about the moth and i took lots of picturs it is such a beautifull moth!

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    Kassy August 15, 2011

    I found a Luna moth on our front screen door just yesterday. We had a downpour thunderstorm that lasted about 20 minutes. the moth stayed on our screen door throughout the whole day and the next day it was still there but in a different spot off of the screen door. I guess it got sick of my family and i opening and closing all the time. And then a little later on in the day it just left. I’m hoping I can find it again. Good thing I got lots of good pictures of it so i can post them up everywhere. Maybe someone I know found one too!

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    keith August 22, 2011

    First time we noticed one 8-20-11 very different, noticed it just before a storm on eve of our roof, lucky it was still there after the rain . Never seen one before ,took lots of photos, Thanks for the info.

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    kasi January 24, 2012

    i saw 2 luna moths in one night i was amazing. it was a male female and they were hanging on my clothes line

    • Avatar
      Nathan January 29, 2012

      That is awesome, Kasi.

      Did you happen to get a picture of them? It must have been a pretty nice sight.

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    Sarah April 18, 2012

    I saw. one today on my way to work. I was walking and luckily was looking down and I saw it on the ground. Sadly it was dead. But gosh was it beautiful. It was a male. I have never seen any bug or moth as beautiful as this one :) I read up on them and I’m fascinate.

    • Avatar
      Nathan April 19, 2012

      Hi Sarah,

      It is unfortunate that the Luna Moth was dead but I know what you mean. They are absolutely stunning. It isn’t often you find an insect that looks more amazing than the Luna Moth.

      Thanks for sharing your story (and for visiting Wild Facts).

      Nathan

  9. Avatar
    Sarah April 19, 2012

    Of course. I found this site and had to share.

  10. Avatar
    al chaney June 12, 2012

    Amazing creature perched on my screen window. Under an overhang near a back porch light. never seen one before, but knew what it was right away. In W. Ma. and hoping to see the female later or tomorrow. Great info on your sight. TY :)

  11. Avatar
    Sheila January 04, 2013

    I have photos of a Luna Moth and a large winged brown Moth. Both were on my deck, have never seen them again. Can Luna’s be brown with a different wing structure.
    Thanks and I agree they are beautiful.

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