Moon Moth: A Majestic-Looking Bug

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Moon moth or luna moth is a beautiful moth species that looks absolutely graceful. The appearance of this bug is one thing but there are many other fascinating facts about them too. For those who have never heard of a moon moth before, I hope you like what you will read below.

1Appearance

A moth of this color is indeed eye-catching, and it looks so beautiful. Adult moon moths have white and hairy bodies with lime-green wings that grow up to 11.5 centimeters long. That makes them one of the large moth species in North America. They also have eyespots on both forewings and hind wings with long twisted tails extending from the hind wings. The eyespot on each wing is oval on the forewings and round on the hind wings. These eyespots can have arcs of different colors such as black, blue, green, red, white, or yellow.
Males have long and wide antennae while females have shorter and narrower antennae.

Moon moths do not have vestigial mouthparts so they do not feed, and their energy is from fat stores when they were caterpillars. As caterpillars, they are very hungry and they feed on the leaves of their host trees for around a month. Then they remain there for about 3 weeks before emerging as a moth. Since their lifespan is only about a week as a moth, a mouth or digestive system is not necessary. That is why they don’t have one.

2Behavior

The moon moth larvae have 5 molt stages or instars that culminate in the formation of a pupa. This pupa is encased in a papery cocoon or wrapped in leaves. When it is time to emerge, adult luna moths cut their way out using serrated spurs near their front wings. Their emerging time is usually in the morning because they have more time to spread and dry their wings. Since moths are active at night, they will have just enough time to get ready for their first flight.

Usually, a moon moth perches on a leaf with its bright green wings folded over its body. The main predators of moon moths are bats and owls, but they have their ways of avoiding becoming prey. They spin their tails in circles that disorient the bats which keep them away. The interesting part about them is that these moon moths can emit clicks to warn as a defense mechanism. That is not all, they can also regurgitate intestinal content to repel predators as well.

3Feeding & Habitats

Luna moths or moon moths are found in North America as well as in some parts of Western Europe. Usually, moon moths love to live in deciduous hardwood forests where tree hosts are abundant. They feed on several different species of broadleaf trees such as American persimmon, American sweet gum, hickory, and white birch.

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