Saturday, December 14, 2013

Species Profile: Luna Moth

Luna Moth (Actias luna)
Description
Wingspan: 2 7/8 to 4 1/8 inches
Male: bluish-green with yellow highlights, lavender to maroon wing edges and legs, and a single eyespot on each wing.
Female: same, but with narrower (less feathery) antennae.
Egg: brown.
Larva: bright green with greenish yellow lateral stripe.
Pupa: dark brown.  Outer cocoon is honey-brown and often wrapped with a leaf.
Similar Species
None in the USA.  
Habitat & Biology
Habitat: deciduous hardwood forests.
Overwintering stage: pupa.
Larval host: uses a variety of deciduous trees, including White Birch (Betula papyrifera), Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), walnuts (Juglans spp.), and hickories (Carya spp.).
Adult food source: adults do not have developed mouth parts and cannot feed.  They live for approximately one week while searching for mates and laying eggs.
Luna moth emerging from its cocoon
Female Luna Moth expanding her wings
Female Luna Moth expanding her wings
Female Luna Moth
Male Luna Moth (note the wider antennae)
Male Luna Moth

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