Subject: Possible Luna Moth Sighting and Question
Location: Hocking HIlls, Ohio
June 25, 2012 10:48 pm
I am pretty sure that this is a luna moth, from looking at other posts on your site. My question is that I woke up in the morning to find this moth outside the cabin I was staying in. I also saw another one dead, with its wings dismantled and spread over the porch. An hour later, I returned outside and this moth (photographed when living) had died as well. I am wondering if there are any natural predators of this moth or if you have any other explanation? I was sad to see the deceased moth in such a state!
Thanks in advance.
Your email brings up many good, thought-provoking questions. Luna Moths are in the Giant Silkmoth family Saturniidae, and like other members of the family, Luna Moths do not feed as adults. They only live a few days to a week (that is a very old Luna Moth) and the live to mate and reproduce. Flying takes a considerable expenditure of energy, and since the adult moths don’t feed, they must survive off the body fat they store as caterpillars. As such, the body of a Luna Moth contains considerable fat and other nutrients, and they are a desirable prey for many insectivores including birds, bats, raccoons and other creatures. The disembodied wings you found were most likely the result of some food chain scenario, with the predator eating the body and leaving the not very nutritious wings as evidence. The second Luna Moth, if it was intact, most likely died of natural causes.