5.16.2005

Luna moth (Actias luna)Posted by Hello


It was a treat to find this intact luna moth. Usually, I find only the wings - apparently these moths are quite tasty to various nocturnal predators - or well worn moths that are tattered and tired. This one has one small tear in its right forewing, but aside from that it is in perfect shape.

Judging by the large, feathered antennae, I am inclined to believe this one is a male.

14 comments:

Cuppa said...

Oh, she is absolutely beautiful. How big is she?

thingfish23 said...

Swamp4me, your inclinations prove correct. It's a male. That's a nice specimen, there, too.

Have a look here for some passable photographs that show the differences between genders.

It looks like its all about the antennae with luna moths.

I'm gonna be dancing all across the property when I see my first one of these beauties down here. I think we get 'em. I'll have to check the range, though.

Cuppa - with a wingspan of 8-12 cm, luna moths are some of the biggest moths you'll encounter.

swamp4me said...
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SquirrleyMojo said...

Stunning.

Wonder what makes them so tasty?

Oh, and are those colors naturally that bright? Or is it the lighting/camera?

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

I so do not like winged buggy type things, but that one is cool Batman could so take a color suggestion from that one.

swamp4me said...

SQ, the moth really was that bright.
Luna moths can vary greatly in color intensity. Older, worn individuals tend to be quite pale.

Rurality said...

Nice one! We used to get them at our old house in the suburbs but haven't seen one at the new place. Like you, the normal ones we saw were tattered and missing bits of themselves.

I also like the moth that looks like a hummingbird... can't think of the name of it at present.

luvstochats said...

Well, if you really like to see these my barn is completely overrun with them about this time of year! I had never taken the time to look up what exact kind of moth it was, but I have tons of pictures of them. I think they are gorgeous :) My horse isn't quite as enthusiastic about them however...he likes to play with them and then run when they move, haha.

luvstochats said...

Sorry, I am somewhat lacking in consistent thought tonight. I also wanted to add that they are all beautiful such as the one in this picture. Maybe I'm just blessed :) I had never seen one until I started renting my horse barn three years ago, but I guess that it's a prime spot for them. They're almost flourescent! (sorry if my spelling is off)

swamp4me said...

Hey luvstochats! The caterpillars of this moth eat sweetgum, persimmon, and walnut leaves -- probably plenty of that growing over near your barn.
Let me know if you see any very large brown moths with eyespots on their wings -- I'd love to get a picture.

Watchmania said...

What do the caterpillars look like? Are they the same colours, or completely different?

swamp4me said...

Sara, the caterpillars are a similar shade of green and have red dots.

lené said...

I found one of the catepillars last summer. The color was very much the same as your photo, but the dots were more of a light salmon/pinkish color. Maybe that's a variation in Vermont? I don't know too much about these things, but they are beautiful, and up here, considered rare.

Thanks for posting the picture.

SwampMari said...

I love luna moths! Youre right this is definitly a male. =)