Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Here is some info about these beautiful moths that I found on the internet.
Common Name: Luna moth
Scientific Name: Actias luna (Linnaeus)
Description: These moths are large, with a 4 to 5 inch wingspan. Wings are light green, marked with transparent spots and a pink-purple or yellow forewing margins and hind wings bearing long twisted tails. Antennae are feathery, with antennae of males being more feathery than those of females. Caterpillars are translucent light green with a pale yellow horizontal line along each side and reddish-orange fleshy knobs (tubercles) on each body segment. They grow to be 2 3/4 inches long.
There are a number of other common silk moths (Saturniidae). Luna moth caterpillars superficially resemble those of the polyphemus moth, Antheraea polyphemus (Cramer), but differ because they have vertical yellow lines on each segment rather than single horizontal lines along each side of the body.
Life Cycle: Adults begin to emerge in the spring (March) to mate and lay oval eggs. Caterpillars develop through several molts before spinning a papery cocoon among dead leaves that usually falls to the ground. There are two generations per year.
Habitat and Food Source(s): Caterpillars have chewing mouthparts. Adults have siphoning mouths. Caterpillars feed on leaves of walnut, hickory, sweetgum, maple, oak, persimmon, willow and other trees. Adults can be attracted to lights, or males can be attracted to an imprisoned female. All colors will fade in preserved specimens when exposed to light. Mated female luna moths can be caged over a food plant on which she will deposit eggs.
Pest Status: "Moon" moths are active at night and are harmless, caterpillars feed on tree leaves but are rarely found in large numbers; medically harmless.
Management: None, harmless