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Hangin' With the Luna Moth

Updated on April 10, 2015
Sylvestermouse profile image

I love all animals, domestic & wild. I have studied many species and find each & every one fascinating. We support shelters & pet adoption


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?

Now Can You See Him?
Now Can You See Him? | Source

Here He Is!

Here He Is!
Here He Is! | Source

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

Male Luna Moth By Adam Jones
Male Luna Moth By Adam Jones | Source

© 2009 Cynthia Sylvestermouse

Tell Us About Your Luna Moth Sighting!

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    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 3 years ago

      For some reason this reminds of that story with the crazy title. Something like: The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man in the Moon Marigolds

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 3 years ago from sunny Florida

      While I have seen many this is not one of them. Gorgeous.

      And what a life...or lack today gone tomorrow...almost that quickly it seems.

      Thanks for sharing this beautiful insect with us.

      Angels are on the way to you this morning ps

      Voted up and shared

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

      Thanks for sharing your kids interesting stories with us. Have to admit, the Luna moth is pretty neat.

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 5 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      What a beautiful looking moth

    • Sky Breeze profile image

      May Matthew 5 years ago

      The Luna Moth is very pretty. Thank you! I am also an insect lover. I wonder if you have seen the Lantern Bug? I use it for my profile image.

    • Sky Breeze profile image

      May Matthew 5 years ago

      The Luna Moth is very pretty. Thank you! I am also an insect lover. I wonder if you have seen the Lantern Bug? I use it for my profile image.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Fun lens to stop by again. :)

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      Sheilamarie 5 years ago from British Columbia

      I love lunar moths! I've only seen one or two in my life. They are really impressive!

    • profile image

      fullofshoes 6 years ago

      We had a persistent visitor the other night... While we were sitting outside Friday evening by the fire... Mr. or Mrs. Luna Moth entertained us all night long, flying from one end of the property to the other, fluttering everywhere. It was quite a wonderful show.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 6 years ago from Connecticut

      A luna moth visited us this past weekend. It spent the night hanging from a window screen under a porch light, and the following day on the window ledge. As darkness fell, the luna moth flew off into the night sky.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 6 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I remember finding a luna moth when in high school for our science bug collection. I had no idea they only lived for 2 weeks! They are quite large for sure. Wonderful article!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      I just saw a Luna Moth for the first time today! Beautiful!!! Sad that they only live a week.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Saw one today! Friday May 4, 2012. It was a male, thought he was dead, but he began to flutter when he was put in a container. So we let him fly off to mate.

    • earthybirthymum profile image

      earthybirthymum 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I remember coming home one day to be greeted by a magnificent Luna Moth attached to the brick of my home at the front entrance. What a find! Great lense, many blessings



    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 6 years ago

      What a beautiful moth! I've never seen one, but hope to someday.

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      Another Pretty Lens!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Thanks for featuring my Luna moth photo!

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 6 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      We have Luna moths at The Butterfly House where I volunteer so I've seen several of them there. I think they are elegant looking moths. Blessed

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Sorry! I forgot to add that I'm from New Jersey--and I think it's a pretty rare occurrence for my area to see one of these amazing creatures!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Earlly this morning (around 3 am), I had one fly right into my condo!! I took some really awesome pictures of it and didn't want to hurt it, so I turned the light off in the room and gently coaxed it back out the screen door. It was truly amazing! I'd love to post pics of it, but don't know how!

    • CastleRoyLisa profile image

      Lisa 6 years ago from Rhode Island


    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Sat. June 4th I came home and found a luna month at my front door. At first it scared the ba-jee-ba's out of me since I had no clue of what it was. I took pictures and sent them to a friend, whose husband is the insect whisperer and told me. I feel very blessed to have seen this rare and beautiful creation from God.

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 7 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Stopping by to bless this beautiful moth.

    • profile image

      KDimmick 7 years ago

      When I was 10 one came up to our window - considerably larger than 3 inches! It was more like 6-7 inch wingspan - it was in Asia though, so bugs tend to be rather larger there!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I have never seen a Luna Moth for real. They really are beautiful, and so is this lens.

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 7 years ago

      Stopping back by to say that my mom in South Carolina had SEVEN on her carport last week. Several were on the truck (camper part) and several on the brick pillar things. She only sees them rarely so seven at one time is more than a record. I love 'em!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      Luna moths are so incredible. I love them.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I live in South Jersey (NJ) and we had one in our backyard. Have a picture....:o) WOW!

    • oztoo lm profile image

      oztoo lm 7 years ago

      I'm not likely to see one in Australia am I. Well they sure look beautiful and it's a pity they are becoming endangered. What do the caterpillars look like? Fascinating lens.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 7 years ago

      Almost missed blessing this one. What a great lens, now *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust.

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 8 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      They are incredibly beautiful. It looks like a fairy dancing, especially in that last image. I have never seen one. How strange that they don't eat.

    • Alfiesgirl LM profile image

      Alfiesgirl LM 8 years ago

      Is it a Luna moth as in moon moth?..or luna as in crazy moth?..probably moon i guess as theyre only seen at night time. I'm almost a luna moth myself so my daughter come i asked her?..well you're a luna mother..i think she meant luna as in crazy and sadly not of the moon lol..What a wonderful afternoon you and your son must have had the day he spotted this..i shall be keeping my eyes peeled for them now lol..lovely mom n son lens 5*

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 8 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I think Luna Moths are so beautiful and so is this lens. Would you believe that I got my magnifying lens out and still couldn't find the Luna Moth in that first photo. Oh me!

    • WhiteOak50 profile image

      WhiteOak50 8 years ago

      My husband and I had the greatest experience with a Luna Moth while we were homesteading. I can understand your son's reaction, such a beautiful moth!

      "Blessed by a SquidAngel"

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      My son just ran in and told me he saw Eric Carle's caterpillar! Sure enough, there is a huge, green, luna moth caterpillar on the brick by the front porch. I'm not sure how it is going to fair in this spot, but we're leaving it alone ... and watching! :-)

    • profile image

      Andy-Po 8 years ago

      Very interesting lens

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 8 years ago

      This was interesting and they are interesting looking. Don't know if I have ever seen one.

    • HorseAndPony LM profile image

      HorseAndPony LM 8 years ago

      I have never seen a Luna Moth. It is beautiful. Thanks for sharing this info.

    • profile image

      CleanerLife 8 years ago

      I found a Luna Moth sleeping under some raspberry leaves and took it's picture. I had no idea what it was until I saw this Lens, but it was so big, and blended so well with the leaves, I figured that there must be something special about it.

      The raspberry patch I saw it in was near a walnut tree, and I read on another site how walnut foliage is among the favorite food of the Luna Moth caterpillar. You can bet when next spring arrives, I'll be out with my camera looking for them!

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 8 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      I'm like you and your son when I visit a zoo. I'm there for hours and hours, taking my time to watch every animal or insect or fish. (And do a little critter dialogue, too.) Anyhow, I never knew that luna moths live for just a week. We used to see them quite a lot when we lived back east. I wonder if that huge luna that landed and rode around on my husband's shirt was near the end of its seven-day run.

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 8 years ago from New Zealand

      Really interesting. I am embarrassed to admit that I couldn't find him in either photo.

    • hlkljgk profile image

      hlkljgk 8 years ago from Western Mass

      so pretty. i can't wait to show the video to my daughter.

    • strayspay profile image

      strayspay 8 years ago

      Beautiful! My favorite author as a child was Gene Stratton Porter and moths are a big part of several of her stories. Thanks for sharing this lens. Five Stars!

    • wyrm11268 profile image

      wyrm11268 8 years ago

      Great lens - now I know about Luna Moths :-)

    • puzzlerpaige profile image

      puzzlerpaige 8 years ago

      We've found a few luna moths. They are amazing to see. My daughter loves to observe bugs too. We grow lots of butterfly host plants to keep them coming through the yard. It's funny what you said about what you missed in high school. I feel the same way. I feel like I am only now, in the last several years, learning all the things I missed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      This is interesting! Sad they only live for 1 week and never eat. That's odd. Your intro was funny about the snakes, I work at a school as a teacher's assistant and one of the science classrooms I worked in for the whole school year had 2 snakes and a turtle! I'm not a snake person but I kind of took a liking to the llittle (well not that little) fellas! Wonderful lens!

    • Davidfstillwagon profile image

      Davidfstillwagon 8 years ago

      very nice lens! 5*

    • AlishaV profile image

      Alisha Vargas 8 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      What incredible little creatures! Thank you for sharing them with us :-)

    • Dee Gallemore profile image

      Dee Gallemore 8 years ago

      Fascinating . . . i hadn't heard of the Luna moth either. Well done!

    • RustyM62 profile image

      RustyM62 8 years ago

      Great lens,nicely done.

    • KOrazem profile image

      Seeking Pearls 8 years ago from Pueblo West

      Great 5* lens. Well written and interesting topic. The luna moth is a lovely creature. I couldn't see him in the first photo but found him in the second.

    • profile image

      Stuwaha 8 years ago

      Fabulous topic!!!

    • profile image

      jaye3000 8 years ago

      Very cool~ never knew about the Luna moth! We've spotted a few moths that look like something from a 60's sci-fi, but didn't know what they were called...very cool :)

    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 8 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      Very nice lens. I've lensrolled this to my Wonderful World of Butterflies lens. 5*

    • jptanabe profile image

      Jennifer P Tanabe 8 years ago from Red Hook, NY

      Wow, amazing! He's rather gorgeous, sorry he can't eat! Great lens!

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 8 years ago

      Well done! Great stuff, interesting material and good input. 5 stars

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      I loved the "spot the moth" idea!

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Beautiful! Did not know they don't eat!! Amazing! Great job; I enjoyed hangin' here. :D ...Congratulations on the first lens in the plexo for Giant Squid Challenge September 2009!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      They are so beautiful!


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