Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Luna Moth, Moon Moth

While watching for a Veery that had shown up in my backyard, I rescued a Luna Moth. I saw it as something light green and tissue-like fluttering in the grass with a Gray Cat bird picking at it. I ran out and beating back the bird which did not want to let go of its prey, cupped the moth in my hands, feeling the wings beating weakly against my palms and fingers, and looked for a safe place to set it down. It ended up resting on the wood siding of our deck. The tail was damaged, but otherwise it seemed to be intact.

Double click to appreciate full beauty of this moth

Luna moths are mostly active at night. They are one of the largest moths in NA, having a wingspan of up to four and one half inches. The caterpillar goes through 5 instar stages before pupation. They emerge from their cocoon only to mate, and usually do not live for more than a week.

He is gorgeous - the feathery feelers indicate it's a male. To me he looks like a miniature piece of silken tapestry with a trompe d'oeil design to fool any predators into thinking these are twigs with buds and leaves. Two eyespots on the long hindwings are not well seen on this photograph.

He stayed on the siding  for the rest of the day, but was gone in the morning. I'll hope he'll make it and find a female to mate with.

Yes, and the Veery, it apparently was gathering nesting material. I used the wrong camera settings for the first photo:

But I got it right the second time around:

Thanks for stopping by. Please leave a comment.


  1. Luna Moths are amazing. I've been fascinated by the idea of them since I was little, but only saw my first one a few weeks ago! I'm glad your moth wasn't too injured by that curious cat to fly away. Lovely shots!

  2. Fabulous shot of the Luna Moth. I haven't seen one in years, but they are astonishing to find.

    Well done.

  3. HI Hilke,
    This moth is quite impressive! What a splendid beast and nice pictures you got!

  4. Hi Hilke -- What a beautiful moth! Your photos look great -- that second one is exquisite.


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