Hangin' With the Luna Moth
Can You Find the Luna Moth?
I had never seen a Luna Moth before my son pointed one out to me. That was one of the moments when it has become clear that I missed out on a lot in high school. My son's favorite class was AP Biology and almost daily he would come home with a new story. Can you believe they even had a pet snake in class? And he touched it? Ugh!!!!
He has always been an avid "bug" watcher, not a collector mind you, that would require killing the bugs. No, he likes to watch them live and study them up close. He has taught me so much about insects and animals and I must say that what I used to totally ignore, I now find fascinating. He really is like a walking encyclopedia!
When we go to the zoo, we never run from animal to animal screeching. No, we stop at every enclosure and watch. "Watch what?" you ask. Well, that's just it. We just observe every detail, every movement, every stripe variation. We can easily spend an hour in the Herpetarium. So many frogs, so little time!
Several years ago, we made a trip to the zoo just to see the new Butterfly House. We crept thought it inch by inch discovering dozens of beautiful butterflies.
And that's where it happened! He spotted the elusive Luna Moth. How he saw him among all the leaves, I will never know, but you would have thought he had just been named a multi-million dollar lottery winner. He didn't make a sound, he just stared, unblinking while I saw nothing but leaves. I followed my son's eyes and finally, there, I saw the weird shaped "leaf".
See if you can find him in the picture above!
Now Can You See Him?
Here He Is!
Incredible But True
- The Luna Moth's has a furry white body and green wings with eye spots on each of its four wings
- The Luna Moth wingspan is 3-4 inches wide
- The Luna Moth has long, curvy Hindwings
- The Luna Moth only flies at night
- The Luna Moth never eats because he has no mouth
- The Luna Moth only lives for about 1 week
- The Male Luna Moth has bushier antennae than the female
- The Female Luna Moth can lay up to 200 eggs
- They are now considered an endangered species in some areas
Life Cycle of the Luna Moth
Luna Moth eggs are usually laid on the undersides of leaves. Seven to 14 days later the eggs hatch into caterpillars.
Luna moth caterpillars are lime green with orange spots or stripes on their sides The caterpillars go through 5 growth stages shedding their exoskeletons (external skeletons) several times.
The caterpillar eats the leaves of walnut, white birch, persimmon, hickory, sweet gum or sumac trees. The caterpillar then molts to a pupal stage and builds a brown, tent-like cocoon by spinning silk from near its mouth. It eventually emerges as a fully-grown adult but that can take several weeks.
Because the Luna Moth does not have a mouth it lives off fat ingested in the last days of its caterpillar stage. It sole purpose in its final stage of life is to mate and reproduce. Because a Luna Moths life is so brief, it is rarely seen.
The Life Cycle of a Luna Moth on Video
Would you like to Hang with More Luna Moths? - Here are just a few ideas
© 2009 Cynthia Sylvestermouse