Facts about Luna moth

19 facts about Luna moth

One of the largest moths in North America.

It is one of the most beautiful moths too. Its name is derived from the oval-shaped eyespots located on its wings that resemble the moon. It is thought that elongated hind wings tails help the moth to confuse the echolocation of predatory bats.
Its Latin name is Actias luna, and it’s a member of the Saturniidae family.
They usually inhabit forested areas of southern Canada and from Maine south to Florida, eastern Texas, and eastern North Dakota.
They vagrant sometimes.
Occurrences of the luna moth in western Europe have been recorded.
Wingspan of adult moths is 75 to 105 mm (2,95 to 4,13 in).
Males and females are similar in size. Antennae are also present in both sexes, but males have longer and wider ones. Female abdomens are larger because of deposited eggs.
Both sexes are green with a long tail on hind wings.
Fore and hind wings have an oval spot, one per wing. Second and third generation moths have more yellowish-tinted wings.
Number of moth generations are conditioned by the climate.
The Canadian population is univoltine, which means they have one generation a year. Central populations are usually bivoltine, so they have two generations per year, and southern ones are trivoltine (which obviously means three generations a year).
Mating usually starts after midnight and lasts for a few hours.
Females sit on a preferred tree and release pheromones that lure males.
Male luna moths can sense female pheromones at a distance of few kilometers.
Specific pheromone developed by luna moths does not affect any other insect species. Mating occurs with the first male encountered by a female.
Females lay 200 to 400 eggs.
They are placed singly or in small groups on the underside of leaves of trees. It takes about a week for eggs to hatch.
Caterpillars develop through five instars.
Depending on the temperature, each instar lasts for 4 to 10 days.