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

Subject: Alien bug
Location: Rural Tennessee.
May 25, 2014 10:49 pm
Last night I went outside and this thing was flapping around about 10 feet in the air for a few minutes then it fell to the ground, I thought it was a bat at first. As I moved closer towards it it started flying towards me and I ran away.. And watched it from afar. It seemed like it had never flown before or had a hard time flying because the top wings flapped at a different time then the bottom ones. As you can imagine it would fly then fall, then fly and fall all over again. It was the size of my hand or bigger. Underneath the wings was a huge white bug with glowing eyes. I live on 10 acres of farmland so I tend a lot of strange bugs in outside but this by far is the strangest. Hopefully you can zoom in. I tried to pick the best ones to send. Thank you for your time.
Signature: Sincerely, Krista charnock

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear Krista,
This is a male Luna Moth, one of the most spectacular and unforgettable North American moths.  Adults only live a few days, and they do not eat as adults, surviving on stored fat that accumulated as a caterpillar.  Since Luna Moths only live a few days, your observation that it just learned to fly is accurate.  Reports of sightings of Luna Moths to our site are down this year, so we are very happy to be able to post your image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Luna Moth
Location: Birmingham, Al
May 22, 2014 10:32 am
This Luna Moth was photographed by me in my garden last week. First sighted it around mid day, came back with Iphone a few hours later and it was still there. A friend of mine identified it for me this morning. I live in Birmingham, Alabama.
Signature: Wendy

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear Wendy,
Thanks for sending us your images.  Our reports and documentation of Luna Moth sightings are well below average this year, and we wonder if the harsh weather in the eastern portion of the country has resulted in pupae not surviving through the winter.  Perhaps the emergence has been delayed and we will get additional reports later this year.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Camouflaged leaf butterfly
Location: Charlotte, NC
May 13, 2014 5:00 pm
I’m very curious as to the species of this outstanding specimen.
Signature: C Tubman

Luna Moth

Luna Moth

Dear C Tubman,
This gorgeous creature is a male Luna Moth, and your image is only the second we have received this year.  Typically, we begin receiving Luna Moth images in February from Texas and Florida, and as spring warmth moves north, we begin to get reports from higher latitudes.  By late May and early June, we hear of sightings in Maine and Canada.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big Bug
Location: West Frankfort, Illinois
May 6, 2014 5:00 pm
Hi ~
This is a bug in my friends house. She lives in Illinois. It does have a mouth because it was eating wasps.
Can you help?
Signature: Thank you! Anne Woods

Male Luna Moth

Male Luna Moth

Dear Anne,
This is a male Giant Silkmoth in the family Saturniidae, and we are relatively certain it is a Luna Moth, and because of the feathery antennae, we believe this to be a male Luna Moth.  We got tremendous amusement from your letter because of your friend’s claim that it was eating wasps.  We are also amused that you made a point of stating that it does have a mouth, which implies that there is some reason to believe it doesn’t have a mouth.  According to all the material we have ever read regarding members of the family Saturniidae, “Adults do not feed” as is stated on BugGuide.  According to Encyclopedia Britannica:  “Adults have reduced, or vestigial, mouthparts, and many never feed.”  We were surprised to read that because based on that statement, some members of the family might feed.  We decided to dig deeper to search for reputable websites that confirm what we have known for many years.  According to the Study of Northern Virginia Ecology website which was developed for use by elementary age students in Northern Virginia to learn more about their local ecology:  “Adult Luna Moths don’t eat; in fact, they don’t even have a mouth.”  According to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences:  “They don’t feed at all as adults and instead depend on food they store as caterpillars to survive.”  According to Live Science:  “The adult Luna moth, for instance, doesn’t even have a mouth.”  According to the Habitat Herald Newsletter of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy:  “Luna Moths have no mouths, so they do not eat in this stage.”  We are also wondering why your friend would be circulating an image from this angle, because though it is still an interesting image, a dorsal view is ideal for displaying the beauty of the Luna Moth, which many people consider the loveliest North American insect.  Please ask your friend to provide any documentation of this Luna Moth eating wasps, because that image is sure to rock the world of biology to its very core.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Green caterpillar with spikes
Location: Limpopo, South Africa
March 30, 2014 11:15 pm
My mother is trying to idenify this caterpillar. It is green with spikes onthe back. She lives om a farm near Musina in Limpopo Province, South Africa
Signature: Curious

What's that Silkworm???

What’s that Silkworm???

Dear Curious,
We are a bit excited that your Silkworm looks very much like the first South African species we researched, the African Moon Moth,
Argema mimosae.  The caterpillar of Argema mimosae resembles your caterpillar, since both have double rows of horns, what we suspect to be an uncommon feature.  This image on FlickR shows the distinctive intersegmental zones.  The imago is one of the loveliest and most elegant Giant Silkmoths in South Africa.

After your email I did a quick search. It looks like it is the African Moon Moth Caterpillar (Argema mimosae)

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What’s my monster green kite
Location: Eastern PA, USA
July 12, 2013 5:29 pm
Please help me identify this most unusual bug which appeared on the meter of my house in eastern PA
Signature: Chris

Male Luna Moth

Male Luna Moth

Hi Chris,
Your colorful subject line caught our attention.  This is a male Luna Moth, and it is most likely a second generation that eclosed from a caterpillar that was produced by Luna Moths that emerged from their cocoons earlier this past spring.  Luna Moths do not feed as adults, and they only survive a few days, long enough to mate and lay eggs for a future generation. 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination