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

Subject: Luna Moth
Location: Indianapolis
October 10, 2015 6:50 pm
We have had such an amazing journey with the Luna Moth this summer … starting with the large green caterpillar stowing away in a bag in early June, later to be found as a cocoon inside the bag, which when placed on our screened in porch … emerged as the beautiful moth several weeks later. Upon attempting to set it free (by opening the screened door at night in hopes that it would fly out during the night), she instead attracted her mate to the porch, and 250 eggs later … we soon found ourselves providing walnut leaves for a large sum of caterpillars for about 40 days. They all cocooned and we were banking on them overwintering in their cocoons, when to our surprise … two have emerged … and they have already attracted a mate (from beyond the screened porch) who found the screened in porch last night. I fear that we will start the cycle again, and there won’t be enough leaves still on the trees (Indiana) to keep them fed until they pupate. Plus, its getting cold outside. Should I bring them inside, or let nature take its course?
Signature: Ellen in Indiana

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Luna Moth Caterpillar

Dear Ellen,
We are speechless about your submission, but at least we have the wherewithal to title it the “Story of the Year for 2015” and to post your three gorgeous images, which we took the liberty of cropping and formatting for web.

Mating Luna Moths

Mating Luna Moths

Good Morning Ellen,
We believe you should try to raise some of the caterpillars in captivity and release the others into the wild.  According the BugGuide, the caterpillars will feed upon the leaves of:  “The caterpillars eat a variety of trees including white birch (Betula papyrifera), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), hickories (Carya), walnuts (Juglans), pecans, and sumacs (Rhus).”  Thankfully you have choices other than walnut for feeding the caterpillars.  You can also turn to Bill Oehlke’s magnificent site on Silkmoths for instructions on raising Luna Moth Caterpillars, though it sounds like you don’t have much need for that information.  Not all adults emerge at the same time and having generations of moths mature at different times is undoubtedly a benefit to the species.  Thanks again for your thrilling account of raising Luna Moths.

The Next Generation: Hatchling Luna Moth Caterpillars

The Next Generation: Hatchling Luna Moth Caterpillars

Update:  October 12, 2015
Thank you so much for your reply and advice. I had another female emerge today and have attached a short video. This is before her wings dried and expanded. The male who showed up on Sat., I think must have been close to his last days. There has been no pairing activity and pretty sure that he will expire soon. Planning to leave the porch door open tonight to let the females fly off if they wish, or attract another male to the porch if there are any in the vicinity. Really hoping that the remainder of the pupae remain cocooned for the winter! Again, thank you for the reply. I have had fun sharing the link to the Story of the Year!!
Ellen

You can try refrigerating the remaining cocoons to prevent them from hatching until spring.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Early Morning Visiter
Location: Eastern North Carolina
October 9, 2015 1:37 am
Hello bugman,
I need your help. I snapped a pic of this little guy and I’ve searched a bunch of sites to identify it to no avail. I live in Eastern North Carolina and he joined me for coffee at 4am while at work. He posed for a photo dipped his wing to say bye and flew off. Summer mornings are full of surprises. If you can help awesome, if not at least you got a good looking butterfly for you gallery.
Signature: JZS

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear JZS,
Goodness, summer lasts much longer in North Carolina.  We are several weeks into autumn in Los Angeles right now.  Lucky you to have seen this lovely Luna Moth.  We believe based on the narrow antennae that this is a female, and hopefully she has mated and can lay fertile eggs, ensuring a new generation.  Luna Moths are Giant Silkmoths in the family Saturniidae, and they do not feed as adults, living only a few days which is long enough to mate and procreate and not much else, though they do provide a nice snack for any birds, bats or other insectivores that catch them.  The battered wings are a good indication that some unsuspecting predator attacked the long tails on the hindwings, enabling the moth to fly off, damaged but still alive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth
Location: Aurora, IL
September 29, 2015 9:11 pm
Found this guy outside my work. It was a windy day today and he was on his back trying struggling to get back on his feet. I took it upon my self to help him out and got him back on his feet. But the wind kept flipping him over, so I found a save haven for him under a wooden crate. First time I have ever seen such a beautiful moth. :-)
Signature: Aleks

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Hi Aleks,
Thanks for sending in your image of a Luna Moth.  This seems like a very late season appearance for your part of the country.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth
Location: Muncie, Indiana
September 7, 2015 8:11 pm
Is September 7th later than normal for Indiana?
Signature: Josh

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear Josh,
According to BugGuide, Luna Moths have:  “One brood in the north, May-July. Three broods in the south, March-September. ”  Based on that information, this does seem rather late in the season.  To the best of our knowledge, Luna Moths pass the winter as cocoons, not eggs, so any progeny produced by this Luna Moth would need pupate prior to the first frost.  Additionally, a late season Luna MOth might have a difficult time attracting a mate.  According to BizLand:  “the eggs can be expected to hatch (8-12 days from date of deposit, depending on temperature,” and “the larvae require approximately five or six weeks (35-42 days) to grow from hatchlings to cocoon spinners.”  Using that approximate timeline, any progeny from this individual would need until at least October 21 to pupate, which is possible before a frost, but that is the minimum time.  Back to your original question, we feel this is a very late sighting, and not at all advantageous to the perpetuation of the species should there be an early frost, but with climate changes, some species may be adapting to changing temperature patterns, which may include early or late emergence.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth in Virginia
Location: Midlothian, VA
July 31, 2015 8:34 am
This was a luna moth I spotted yesterday in Midlothian, VA. I had never seen one before! It is amazing! I put my finger up to it to try to show how large it is. All I really accomplished was to show how much I need a manicure! :)
Also, just an FYI – your site has really tacky ads with very inappropriate content. I won’t recommend children to visit this site because of that. I closed it out and commented that it was inappropriate. Just wanted to let you know so you could contact your provider or something.
Signature: Nancy Morin

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear Nancy,
Thanks for sending in your image of a gorgeous Luna Moth.  We did not receive as many submissions of Luna Moths this year as we have in the past.  Thanks for expressing your concern regarding “tacky ads with very inappropriate content” but the fact is that we cannot afford to run our site without Google ads.  Out of curiosity, we viewed our homepage just prior to crafting our response to you, and we found ads for Solar Energy, Dresses and a Flea and Tick Collar on our own computer.  A few minutes later those were replaced by a popular car company, a medical condition with unsavory symptoms and extreme urban stunts.  Because of the preponderance of exterminators that use Google Ads, and because we cannot control the advertisers, many years ago we added the disclaimer on our site above the first ad that “What’s That Bug? does not endorse extermination” to distance our actual content from the advertisements.  It is our understanding that Google ads are also very specific to the personal computer upon which they appear.  According to Wikipedia, the advertisements :  “are targeted to site content and audience,” meaning that the activity on your own computer has some effect on the ads that are generated.  So, if someone using your computer did research on buying a new car, when you later visit What’s That Bug? you might see car ads appear.  You were not very specific about the content you observed, but at least we have never seen a Google ad for pornography crop up on our site.  In a perfect world, we could operate without any advertisements, but that time has not yet come.  We are sorry that you cannot recommend the site to children because we believe our actual content is very PG rated, and when we do address adult themes, we resort to wit before vulgarity.

More on our Google Ads
Your Page Ads
August 5, 2015 4:25 pm
OK…I love butterflies but your ads like the one below “lengthen Your Healthspan” with the naked woman with black thin leather straps around her “flesh” is unexceptible for your PG site.  The other person commenting recently was correct.
Signature: Lee

Thanks for your concern Lee, but as we stated previously, we cannot control the content of the google ads and we cannot run our site without advertisers.  We will copy our technical staff to further investigate.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth in ATL!
Location: Atlanta, GA
July 23, 2015 8:50 am
This is what greeted me at the door when I got to work today! It was lounging on the reflective window (hence the background). A friend identified it for me! A great expression of God’s handiwork! Am trying to think if I ever saw one before! So beautiful!
Signature: Carol

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear Carol,
Thanks for sending in your lovely image of a male Luna Moth.  We received fewer images this year of Luna Moths than we typically receive.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination