Monday, July 11, 2011

The Luna Moth

One of the exciting finds at the Desert Botanical Gardens in Phoenix was the Luna Moth.  They had several flying around their butterfly pavilion and it was really neat to see.  I've seen these in nature before but I didn't remember from where....the Spanish word for this type of moth is "alevilla".

"Luna Moths are members of the Saturniidae family, also known as the "Giant Silkworm Moths." Luna Moths are huge moths, with a wingspan of four and a half inches. They have a white body, pinkish legs, and huge pale green wings. The hindwings have eyespots and long tails. They fly, only at night, in Spring and early Summer. The female Luna Moth lays eggs on the bottom of Black Walnut leaves. She lays about 200 eggs in small groups. You can tell a male from a female, because males have larger, bushier antennae.  When the adult Luna Moth leaves its coccoon, it is not ready to fly. Its wings are short and stumpy and the insect needs to rest. It usually hatches in mid-morning and climbs a tree trunk to hang its wings, so they can fill with blood. Once the wings are inflated, the adult moth will wait until nightfall to fly off to find a mate. Adult Luna Moths don't eat; in fact, they don't even have a mouth. They only live for about a week, and their only purpose is to mate.  Female Luna Moths release a chemical at night which attracts males. Adults die shortly after mating or laying eggs. Usually, two generations are born each year (that means that moths that spent the winter in a coccoon will hatch, mate, and lay eggs; then their children will hatch, mate, and lay eggs which will hatch and make cocoons for the Winter). Luna Moths were once very common, but are now considered an endangered species in some areas."


  1. I grew up in the woods of Louisiana and I would see these moths all the time. They are my favorite moth! Don't see them anymore since I live next to a sugarcane field.

  2. That's an amazing, and very beautiful moth.

  3. I hate to hear of endangered species...especially butterflies! These moths are extra special, for sure.

  4. Wow, that is so pretty and very cool! I've never seen this kind of butterfly before at all.

  5. oh I have seen one of these beauties
    in Wisconsin...resting on a light
    on a night path
    magic..pure magic...light shining through wings


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