Thursday, June 4, 2009

Giant Silk Moths Are Here!


Behold the Luna Moth. Some people have called this the prettiest insect in all of North America. This little guy has a nice 4 to 5 inch wingspan, is lime green in color, and sports two purple colored eyes on the wings. I'll be focusing on these for this post but all across America these giant silk moths maturing such as the The Imperial Moth, Honey Locust Moth, IO Moth, and Polyphemus Moth. The Hickory Horned Devil is another one that's endangered. Though present across the east coast, it's no longer found in the new england area (eastern New York and everywhere above). This is likely because of to much stress on it as well a shorter period to develop.


I found this under a light one day behind the place that I work. It's something of an insect hot spot my little walk to the car. Ya see at night time the parking lot lights come on and one light in particular, right where I park my car, is incredibly close to the wall. The light hitting the wall makes it illuminate and makes it the brightest spot around despite dozens of other lights. And this is sort of the reason why these moths aren't more common. They spend all their time at lights at night instead of doing what nature intended. The adults to these moths only live 2 to 4 weeks and then they die. The adults don't even eat, all the energy they gathered was done during the larval stage.


So I carefully collected it, with special care to not damage the wings. This is where I started photographing it. By the way I don't recommend doing that. If you find one, admire it and take pictures if you like but after you're done kindly sway it away to a darker place like a forest. The car ride home was also fun as the thing crawled up my shirt while driving. And went up my face blocking my few with one eye thanks to it's pretty wings.


Now you may notice it has wing damage already. Sure enough I did notice the left wing was damaged when I found it, but the right one I can't vouch for. On another forum I'm told it's likely that both wings were damaged while emerging from it's cocoon. Notice how the damage is on the same spot on both wings. So that's a relief to me.

I released it outside and was happy to see it could still fly.

2 comments:

  1. I found one of these beautiful insects on a wall near a friends apartment. At first i thought it was a decoration of some sort due to there being a kids birthday party. I picked it up and it died. I took so many pictures of the little guy. I wanted too see him fly so bad but it was too late. I was so hurt and when I got home I searched the internet looking for pictures or a name for this cute insect. Thanks for posting, hopefully I get to see another one soon!

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  2. Sadly they only live about 2 weeks in the adult stage. I believe for the few species that do over winter as adults they live a bit longer but are in a hibernation state. They lay their eggs and are quickly expired. Most of the giant silk moths over winter in cocoons to my knowledge and emerge slightly after the tree line starts to fill in with either flowers or leaves, both are edible to caterpillars.

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