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Luna Moth

Actias luna


Wings are yellow when they first eclose, then change to green within a few hours. The wings have eyespots on them, and have tapering hindwings which are quite long. Their wingspan can be up to 4.5 inches long. They have long, bushy antennae, the males even moreso. Luna moths have white bodies and pink legs. When the moth first ecloses, its abdomen is very fat, and each section has what looks like green jelly separating it from the next. This is bodily fluid that gets pumped into the wings.




I came upon this luna moth right after it had eclosed--I was busy taking pictures of other insects when I heard something crawling through the grass. I looked over and saw this monstrous insect crawling towards me. At first I thought it was two beetles rolling around, but then my eyes focused and I realized that it was a luna moth! This was one of the main insects I was hoping to see this summer, so I was pretty freaking excited. I picked it up and put it on a nearby tree so that it could start pumping up its wings, and came back to check up on it every so often. Other sources say that it usually takes about 2 hours for this process to complete, but 3 hours went by and it still wasn't done. Judging from the bushy antennae on this one, it's probably a male. The females release pheromones to attract the males, and the males use those bushy antennae to pick up on the pheromones. Adult luna moths only live for about a week, and they don't eat, so their only purpose during this stage of their life cycle is to mate. It's a beautiful insect, just marvelous to look at.

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Elsa 8 years ago

Incredible series! Love it

Jacob Gorneau
Jacob Gorneau 8 years ago


Darwinist 10 years ago


Latimeria 10 years ago

Thanks for all the comments everyone!

Yasser 10 years ago

Amazing series of photos. A beautiful insect indeed.

Salvi 10 years ago

really beautiful!

KarenL 10 years ago

Beautiful & very interesting!

Harsha Singh
Harsha Singh 10 years ago

Thanks for showing us how it grows.

Pino 10 years ago

Very tricky shapes . beautiful to see , thank you :)

Latimeria 10 years ago

Thanks Steffi! I've been meaning to get around to posting this one for months.

Alice, I'll try to upload the picture again, let me know if you still can't see it.

Steffi 10 years ago

This is such a fantastic series! Thanks for sharing this spotting!

alicelongmartin 10 years ago

You have made a wonderful series, but the last picture is not showing!

Spotted by

Ohio, USA

Spotted on May 18, 2011
Submitted on Sep 11, 2011

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