Chronicaling the lunacy of taming three acres in Tidewater Virginia, one square foot at a time!

"Gardens... should be like lovely, well-shaped girls: all curves, secret corners, unexpected deviations, seductive surprises and then still more curves. ~H.E. Bates, A Love of Flowers


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Luna Moth (Actias luna)

Three Luna Moths were found hanging around the outside of our house on Thursday!
Luna Moths are members of the Saturniidae family, also known Giant Silkworm Moths. The family name Saturniidae is based on the eye spots of some members of the family that contain concentric rings reminiscent of the planet Saturn. The Luna Moth gets its name from its moon-like spots.

After reading about them, I am left wondering what purpose Luna Moths serve in the natural world. The adult form lives for about a week, with a sole purpose of reproducing. I suppose whatever is relying on them for a meal, either has a varied palette, or an equivalently short lifespan. The Luna Moth can mimic living and dead leaves on the ground by remaining motionless

They don't eat....they have no mouths... Well I guess if you can't have the pleasure of eating, that leaves mating as a big form of entertainment! The males are identified by their larger and "bushier" antennae. Female Luna Moths release a chemical at night which attracts males. The adults die shortly after mating and laying eggs.

Accessed 041110 at Species Detail Butterflies and Moths of North America

Usually, two generations are born each year. The moths that spent the winter in a cocoon will hatch, mate, lay eggs...and RIP; then their children will hatch, mate, and lay eggs which will hatch and make cocoons for the next winter.



12 comments:

Curbstone Valley Farm said...

We always expect butterflies to be beautiful, but often I think we presume that most moths are rather dull and drab. The Luna Moth though is gorgeous, and very unique looking. Seems a shame that it's so so short-lived.

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

I suspect that the Luna Moths wonder about what purpose humans have in the world...Tearing up the earth, paving over nature, et cetera.

Grower Jim said...

I love these moths. We used to see them quite often in Iowa where I grew up, but I don't think I've ever seen one here in Florida.

GardenGoddess said...

Lisa and Robb...I was more wondering what niche they have in the food chain...or if they weren't here who or what would suffer. It always strikes me that creatures with such a short lifecycle in any one stage must make a contribution quickly.

Ellada said...

Hello! I never see that kind of butterfly. You are very lucky.
Ellada.

The Idiot Gardener said...

Now that is one super-funky moth!

Bethany said...

Great pics!

Beth Meece said...

I was thinking the exact same thing but did not find an answer! I guess some people are not intelligent enough to question such things... therefore they have to make snide remarks instead of intelligent conversation!

Beth Meece said...

I was thinking the exact same thing but did not find an answer! I guess some people are not intelligent enough to question such things... therefore they have to make snide remarks instead of intelligent conversation!

Anonymous said...

They don't have time to wonder.

Anonymous said...

How sad! Without wondering, the person has become unappreciative and has stopped learning.

Barbara said...

Hi I'm still wondering what a Luna Moths purpose for being here is. Do you know?