This morning I found a lovely luna moth as I was out walking in the forest wet from a day of rain. I think it was not long out of its cocoon, as the tail looks not quite fully unfurled yet. Lunas emerge from their cocoons in the mornings. I found this one around 6:15 this morning, so I believe it’s just beginning its short seven days of life.
Lunas are common, but because of their short life span, they are not commonly seen. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to study one of these palm-sized moths. I might see one or two a year, and often they are flitting by or otherwise not being photographically cooperative.
This morning’s moth was a wonderful exception. The little “moon” spots on its wings are the basis for the moth’s name. But that’s just one of the truly beautiful things about the moth. Notice how the brown top line resembles a twig in both shape and color. And notice, too, how the wings themselves mimic the shape and the color of the nearby leaves. How perfect is that?
In this area, the moths produce two generations in a summer. The first is now, the second will be about 11 weeks later, in mid-August. More northerly lunas will only product one generation a year. Those to the south will produce three.
I am still trying to decide if this one is a male or a female. The only difference is in the length and width of their antennas. The male’s antenna are larger and wider, but to my eye the difference is a small one, so I won’t hazard a guess about this one. I’m just lucky to have found one so cooperative, so I could admire its beauty and share it with you.