The Luna Moth (Actias luna) is the best-known of the American silkmoths. The name is derived from Luna, the Roman moon goddess, and they are sometimes called the America Moon Moth. They are mainly active at night, but can also be seen during daylight hours.
The hindwings have long curving tails, and the wings are pale green with a transparent eyespot. The adults have a life span of only about one week.
They are commonly found in the eastern half of the United States, and Nova Scotia westward through Saskatchewan.
Luna Moths produce different numbers of generations per year in different geographical areas. In Canada and northern regions of the United States they have one generation per year. Further south, the Luna Moth may produce two or three generations. Females lay about 200 to 400 eggs, over a period of days.
Life stages are approximately 10 days as eggs, 6–7 weeks as larvae, 2-3 weeks as pupae, and one week as adults. As with many other silk moths, Luna Moths do not feed as adults.
Males tend to be a lighter shade of green and are slightly smaller than females. Female Luna moths have slender fuzzy antennae. Male Luna Moth antennae fan out much like a feather. Spring generation Luna Moths are a vivid sea-foam green color, while generations that follow throughout the remainder of the year are yellow in color.
Hosts for Luna Moth caterpillars include a variety of trees, such as sweetgum, hickories, walnuts, persimmon and white birch.
Its size is typically in the 3.0" - 4.25" range.
Photo of a Luna Moth, seen in Garretts Bluff, Texas (Photo courtesy of LC)
Luna Moth in East Texas|
Luna Moths mating, Shenandoah, Texas
Close-up view of a Luna Moth
The Luna Moth Caterpillar is lime green in color, with a series of red-orange spots along its sides.|