Luna moth larva this far north?
You have a wonderful site here and I’m hoping you can help with identifying a bug for me. It is about 2 1/2 inches long and as thick as well… my thumb comes to mind but a tube of lipstick is about right. I discovered a very large caterpillar marching across my front lawn this afternoon. (September 3 2007) I took about 25 pictures of it and came to the conclusion it is a luna moth larva….BUT I cannot find anywhere that they live this far north. I live in central British Columbia, Canada. Prince George, to be precise. I found that they eat paper birch so I deposited it there. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my paper birch but it looked like it needed a tree and had it succeeded in getting over to the neighbors it probably wouldn’t have made it to the end of its already, too short, natural life. Long story short…. it seems to be spinning a cocoon. I’d like to see the results and take a bunch of pictures. How can I do that without buying the bird cage? Also, will this larva live inside the cocoon all winter? Even if it’s -25 or -35 celsius and has a mountain of snow heaped on it for 5 months? Maybe I will buy the cage…. I have bird feeders out but that’s no guarantee they won’t eat the big green bug. I’ll attach a couple of pictures (I resized them to 1/3rd their original size) and maybe you’ll be able to identify it as something other than a Luna. (I really hope it is a Luna and that I’ll get to see the final results next spring) Thanks in advance for your expertise. Sincerely;
This is a Luna Moth Caterpillar and they do live in the extreme North. They spin a cocoon around a dried leaf and pupage inside. The leaf remains on the ground among leaf litter. The blanket of snow actually helps keep the pupa from freezins as it acts as insulation with the decaying leaves providing additional heat.
Correction(09/04/2007) “luna” from BC, damsel drowning
A couple of questions regarding recent postings: Are you certain the Luna Moth caterpillar from British Columbia is in fact a Luna? I’ve raised Polyphemus for a number of years, and it sure looks like a “Poly” to me. The white bars on the sides are key. As for the damselfly drowning during mating, it seems to me I’ve read the males sometimes do this to prevent other males from mating with “their” females. Anything to that? Cheers!
St. Augusta, MN
We stand corrected.