Flying by Moonlight
With a wingspan up to four inches, Luna moths are one of the largest in North America
Like springtime, Luna moths represent rebirth and renewal.
I usually see one or two early each spring, hanging around hubby’s bug zapper. Perhaps they’re drawn to the light’s blue glow. The zapper poses no threat to the Luna moths, which are too large to fit through the miniature cage.
I thought they were eating the insects collected inside the zapper. I was wrong. Luna moths have no mouth, a trait they share with silkworm moths. They live only about a week, just long enough to mate and lay their eggs.
Rarely seen, these nocturnal moths fly by the light of the moon.
When you do see one, you’ll know it. They are one of the largest moths in North America, with a wingspan that can reach four and one-half inches. Their color is a translucent lime-green, and long, trailing, hind wings are marked with eyespots, which confuse predators.
Luna moths live in forests in the eastern U.S. and southern Canada, where they prefer deciduous woodlands of hickory, persimmon, sumac, sweet gum and walnut.
The woods around my home must suit them.
So far this year, I’ve seen two sets of mixed-sex trios clinging to the window screen. I can tell the difference between the sexes by the males’ larger and bushier antennae.
Once four visited. But a bird flew to the window screen to pluck one off. Both bird and moth made a few loops around my backyard before vanishing into the woods. I don’t know how the story ends, but I don’t think it had a happy ending for the Luna moth.