When I was walking with Mom to the mailbox, I spied something flitting on the grass. It was a beautiful Luna moth.
Mom gently scooped the moth onto a leaf and took it into the backyard. She put it on a branch, then ran into the house for the camera. Here's a picture of our luna moth:
Luna moths have become very rare. We have not seen one in two or three years. Luna moths come into our yard because we have sweet gum trees. They like to lay their eggs on the sweet gum leaves. They lay about 200 eggs at a time.
Green caterpillars hatch from the eggs in about ten days. For the next three to four weeks, they eat and eat and eat. They like to eat our sweet gum leaves.
When the time is right, the caterpillar will spin a silk cocoon. It will stay inside for two to three weeks. When it comes out, it is a beautiful Luna moth.
Luna moths only live for one week. They do not eat when they are in the moth stage. They don't even have a mouth!
We think that this Luna moth was a female. Male Luna moths have thicker antennas than the females do.
Luna moths are very big. Their wing span is about 4-1/2 inches wide. They are one of the largest moths in North America.
For more information about Luna moths, just follow these links: