Currently viewing the category: "Luna Moth – Rare Specimen"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moths
Location: Pittsburgh
October 5, 2016 1:50 pm
I’d like to plan an outing this year where we would have a higher likelihood of seeing a Luna Moth. What is the season for the Luna Moth in Pittsburgh, PA?
Signature: David

Ed. Note:  Once we learned the lovely, originally submitted image was not taken by David, it was removed and replaced with an image from our archives.

Mating Luna Moths

Mating Luna Moths (image from our archives)

Dear David,
Your Luna Moth image is positively lovely.  When did you take it?
We will request our readers who live in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio within 50 miles of Pittsburgh to write in with any personal Luna Moth sightings.  According to BugGuide, Pennsylvania sightings are between April and September, but we are not certain those sightings distinguish between caterpillars and imagos.  According to Ohio BugGuide data, May through August, skipping to October are months with sightings.  In our own archives, we would stick to images of mating pairs as that seems like peak season, in our minds.  This Swarthmore, Pennsylvania sighting is from August 5, 2016.  This Pulaski Township sighting is from June 1, 2014.  This reintroduction program from Chagrin Falls, Ohio occurs at the end of July to the beginning of August.

Thanks,
I did not take the photo, it was required for a submission. But I do volunteer with Venture Outdoors and we are planning some Citizen Science outings with respect to insects.
We did a wonderful Monarch banding trip last Sunday but did not see a single Monarch. We did see 2 pairs of mating Praying Mantises.
https://flickr.com/photos/54763394@N06/sets/72157674709386026
Thanks for your help in planning our Spring moth event!
David Bennett

Thanks for letting us know that you did NOT take the image David.  Do you have permission to post the image or was it pilfered from the internet?  We are very conscious of internet plagiarism and copyright infringement, and we will have to remove your submitted image and replace it with one from our own archives if you do not have permission.  Our standard submission form clearly states:  “By submitting an identification request and/or photo(s), you give WhatsThatBug.com permission to use your words and image(s) on their website and other WhatsThatBug.com publications. Also, you swear that you either took the photo(s) yourself or have explicit permission from the photographer or copyright holder to use the image.”  We hope folks from the Pittsburgh area write in with any information they might have about sightings from previous years.  You might want to check back nearer to your trip planning time to see if there are any comments submitted to this posting.

It’s not my image, and I did not intend to post, just wanted to ask a question
David Bennett

Thanks David.  We will remove it and replace it with an image from our own archives.

I’m so happy to discover your website and I will be happy to post REAL pictures in the future. For example I lead a butterfly event every July that participates in the NABA count.
David Bennett

We look forward to future submissions from you David.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: plant-like creature
Location: Swarthmore, PA
August 5, 2016 4:51 am
This, which I took at first to be a plant, was clinging to a lamp post this morning. What is it please?
Signature: talluncle31

Mating Luna Moths

Mating Luna Moths

Dear talluncle31,
Though we have already received several images of Luna Moths this year, we are especially thrilled to post and feature your mating pair of Luna Moths, arguably the most distinctive looking North American moth species.  The male in the pair has the more feathery antennae, which he uses to sense the pheromones of the female, who is full of eggs and has the fatter abdomen.  Luna Moths do not eat as adults, and they live only long enough to mate and procreate.

Mating Luna Moths

Mating Luna Moths

Thank you very much for the identification of the Luna Moths. They were still there as it got dark last evening, but no longer in contact. This morning they were gone.
Talluncle31

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s this moth?
Location: Northern Kentucky
July 31, 2016 6:10 pm
Just wondering what this is the kids found it on our property.
Signature: Fun in ky

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear Fun in ky,
Though there are several other large green moths native to North America, including the Pandorus Sphinx and the Pacific Green Sphinx, nothing looks remotely similar to the Luna Moth.  Other continents have relatives of the Luna Moth, including the Indian Moon Moth, but again, there is nothing else in North America that looks anything like this beautiful creature.

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth
Location: Bridgeton, Maine
June 21, 2016 4:36 pm
Found this guy on the cement next to a gas pump. Was still alive thankfully. He or she also did not judge me for pumping $40.01…
Signature: Dave

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear Dave,
We suspect this Luna Moth was probably attracted to the lights at the all night gas station, and then remained after the sunrise.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth
Location: Rockford, Mi
June 17, 2016 8:43 am
I have never seen this one before but when a co worker informed me I had to identify it! It’s a Luna Moth resting on the wall outside the back door.
Signature: LisaM

Male Luna Moth

Male Luna Moth

Dear LisaM,
Congratulations on your wonderful sighting.  The more feathery antennae indicate this Luna Moth is a male.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: This guy is near my Luna moth.
Location: Reston virginia.
May 14, 2016 6:51 pm
I have a beautiful Luna moth at my front door and another large brown moth I can’t identify on my outdoor light.
Questions.
1 are Luna moths endangered by weather in th 30’s?
2 his wings are quivering. What does that mean?
3 what is the brown moth on my lamp?
4 there’s a toad hanging out near the Luna. Will he eat him/her?
Thank you. So happy I found your website.
Signature: Love nature.

Polyphemus Moth

Polyphemus Moth

Dear Love nature,
All of the preserved native open space in Reston is obviously having a positive impact on wildlife.  Adult Giant Silkmoths, including Luna Moths, emerge from the cocoon when conditions, including temperature, are conducive to reproduction.  If temperatures dip to the low 30s, the moths will likely not fly and await a warming trend, but if they are sheltered, they will most likely survive.  Quivering wings are sometimes evident just prior to a moth beginning to fly, and the phenomenon is explained on BugGuide:  “The shaking behavior is a method of regulating body temperature, similar to shivering in humans. Though these are ‘cold-blooded’ animals, their nocturnal nature forces them to be active in lower temperatures, so the shivering heats up the flight muscles enough to expend the massive amounts of energy required to take off.”  Your brown moth is a male Polyphemus Moth, a species with pronounced eyespots on the ventral surface.  Regarding your final question, we believe you are mistaken.  That appears to be a cat and not a toad that is checking out your Luna Moth.  A cat can do considerable damage to a Luna Moth, including mortally wounding it. 

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Thank you for your quick response.  That was my cat wishing she were on the other side of the door (which will NEVER happen). The toad was out of sight of my camera.  My husband moved him down the porch for the evening.  The Luna was gone this morning so I hope he/she is ok.  These beautiful moths come to my home annually.
Love your website.  Thank you so much.
Debi

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination