The other day at recess we found a giant Luna Moth resting on one of the windows.
Luna Moths are huge. This one was about 3 inches across and probably would have been 4 inches with the wings fully spread.
It was such a beautiful and strange creature that we decided to learn more about them.
This website (EEK!) told us that luna moths only live for one week once they emerge from their cocoons! That is one of the reasons people don’t usually see them. The other main reason they are hard to spot is that they rest all day (usually in the woods) and only fly around at night.
Here is a photo from Wikimedia showing a female luna moth in the wild at night:
How do we know the moth in the picture above is a female? Well, this website told us that male luna moths have bigger, bushier antennae. You can see that the picture of our luna moth has bigger antennae, so it must be a male and this one has smaller antennae so it is a female.
As an adult moth, luna moths only live for a week, but before that they spend about 5 weeks as caterpillars.
When they emerge from their cocoons as moths, they don’t eat at all. In fact, luna moths don’t even have mouths! They just focus on finding a mate and laying eggs for next spring.
Female luna moths release a scented chemical called a pheromone to attract a mate. Pheromones are kind of like a perfume that tells the male where the female is.