I stopped to check my houseplants one evening on my way back to the house.

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An obviously very ragged luna moth landed not 2 feet from me.

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It’s coloring wasn’t the pastel green, and it stood out more than usual. It’s in the center of the picture.

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The moth spent the night and the next day on the ground near the base of the sweet gum tree.

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Males have bushier antennae than those of the female above.

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This picture was taken the second night. Ants were eating its body the next morning.


I hunted and hunted in my k-zillion folders for one of the few luna moth pictures.  No luck.

Then synchronicity stepped in: a newly-emerged moth was hanging from a leaf near where I photographed the one above.

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Luna moths (Actias luna) are a member of the family of sphinx moths. 

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More luna moth facts: wingspan up to 4 1/2 inches; adult lifespan 1 week; adults don’t feed; female lays 100-300 eggs in small groups on undersides of leaves; eggs hatch in 10 days; and eggs are laid on   trees, including sweet gum (which was used in our yard) walnut, persimmon and hickory. Since luna moths have 3 broods in Missouri, I assume they do here in Illinois too.



6 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t ever see these here.


  2. Posted by Therese on August 16, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Beautiful, Kathy.


  3. Very cool. Thanks for sharing.


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