Thursday, August 23, 2012

Lovely Luna Moth

Way back in late June Lori and I went into town to get our fishing licenses.  It was 10:00 am but we both bought ice cream from the freezer at the hardware store counter, went out front and sat on a bench to eat and enjoy the warm morning. Lori wandered off towards the corner and the trash can, but was soon calling for me. I joined her, and she pointed down at the side of a building. At first I didn't see anything, then this beauty caught my eye:

Luna moth, Actias luna

I took some pics with my iPhone, then we gently scooped him up and brought him home.  We placed him on the old cherry tree out back and I took some more shots.

The male has the remarkable fan-like antenna.

I had never seen a Luna moth in the wild, not that the thriving metropolis of Pinckney, Michigan is all that wild (though there is a park across the street from where we found him). I'd only seen one once in a butterfly house and that really doesn't count.

I took photos from every angle.

I know next to nothing about these creatures so I found the University of Florida's website with lots of good info and photos--you can check it out here. What I knew was that they don't have mouth parts--that's right, the moth does not eat, so it is fairly short lived. They have to breed and lay eggs in a hurry. What I did learn is that they prefer forested areas, only produce one generation a year in the north, and that the larvae feeds on a variety of trees including walnut, hickory and sumac, all of which we have on the property.

The colors! And furry like a newborn baby.

The delicate tail

Once we'd taken our share of photos we moved him to the front of the house and put him on a potted plant, where we hopped he'd be less conspicuous. He was gone within an hour, having either flown off or been gobbled up by a bird. But what a treat to have been able to see one so close.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my Marie!I so love these moths! What a treat for you. The colors are so unique and their life history so interesting! Thanks for the photos. I have only seen a couple in all my years also.