Posts Tagged ‘luna moth’

What a Surprise Part 2

I went out in the yard the next evening, and there lay a luna moth on the ground. I didn’t see any movement.

Another one lay close by. It didn’t move any either.

None of the ones I saw moved. I walked to the backyard after taking all the pictures I needed.

Then … another surprise … I walked on down in the backyard, and there were the wings of another luna moth.

None of the wings were attached.

There was no body either.

It looked like the wings fell off.

These were all that was left of the moth. It must have burrowed in the ground to complete its transformation.


What a Surprise! Part 1

I went out after supper last night, and there on the side of the sweetgum tree was a luna moth.

 I haven’t seen one of these for years! It tolerated my presence while I took pictures … and more pictures.

The evening light slightly changed the color of the moth.

Moths have feathery antennae. Butterflies don’t.

This spot looks like an eye and would keep predators away.

A luna moth’s wingspan measures between 3.0 -4.25 inches wide.

I didn’t realize they had such a large body.


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

IMG_4208 red

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

IMG_4218 red

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

IMG_4224 crop red

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

IMG_4291 crop red

IMG_4224 crop

Males have bushier antennae than those of the female above.

IMG_4324 red

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.

IMG_6226 crop alt red

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

IMG_6236 crop alt red

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.