Currently viewing the category: "Moths"
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: t-shaped creature
Location: Ringsted, Denmark
October 3, 2015 2:42 am
It was sitting on my window in the livingroom. I have never seen anything like it before. I don’t think it was afraid of me, caus I could get realy close before it flew away. It was very slow actually. I guess it was about 3-4 cm long.
Signature: chelina

Plume Moth

Plume Moth

Dear Chelina,
This is a Plume Moth in the family Pterophoridae, and many people write to us requesting an identification for the T-Bug.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Whats that bug?
Location: Aptera, Crete
October 2, 2015 6:04 am
Saw this at Ancient Aptera on Crete a few weeks ago. It was just sitting on the rocks and did not seem yo be moving. It was several inches long. Very interesting design on the head.
Signature: CretanBob

Death's Head Hawkmoth

Death’s Head Hawkmoth

Dear CretanBob,
Your submission of this Death’s Head Hawkmoth image is quite timely as we just finished posting an image of the caterpillar of a Death’s Head Hawkmoth from France.  The pattern on the thorax of the adult moth resembles a human skull, hence the common name.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: What kind of bug is this?
Location: Alabama
September 30, 2015 2:07 pm
Please tell me what kind of bug this is.
Signature: Thank you. Tammy p

Southern Flannel Moth

Southern Flannel Moth

Dear Tammy p,
This is a Southern Flannel Moth,
Megalopyge opercularis, and your individual is a male as evidenced by the feathery antennae and pronounced markings.  Though you might not be familiar with the adult moth, many folks in the South are quite familiar with its larval form, commonly called a Puss Caterpillar or Asp.  According to BugGuide:  “Caution, caterpillars have painful sting.  Occasionally, in outbreak years, puss caterpillars are sufficiently numerous to defoliate some trees (Bishopp 1923). However, their main importance is medical. In Texas, they have been so numerous in some years that schools in San Antonio in 1923 and Galveston in 1951 were closed temporarily because of stings to children (Diaz 2005).”  Images of the Asp are much more common on our site that those of the adult Southern Flannel Moth.  Since it is the first of October, we have selected your submission to be our featured Bug of the Month for October 2015.

Asps from our archive

Asps (image from our archive)

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