Hailey from Verona Island found a Luna moth in the rec hall this weekend. Anytime we see one on the side of a building or clinging to a tree, I’m filled with wonder because they are simply so beautiful; but when the kids asked me questions about the life cycle of these spectacular creatures I didn’t have very much information to share…but I have Google!
Did you know that these beautiful moths:
- Come in all shades from lime green to yellow-green
- Average 3-4 inches wide and 5-6 inches long, including the long tail
- Fly only at night
- Adult moths have no mouths, they eat NOTHING
- Live throughout North America
- Adult female moths lay up to 200 eggs in small groups on the leaves of walnut trees. These eggs are as small as the top of a pin. Ten days later, small caterpillars eat their way out of the eggs
- The newborn caterpillar eats constantly – several leaves every day – growing quickly. Soon the caterpillar’s skin is so tight, it starts to split. The caterpillar wriggles out of its old skin, having formed a fresh, new skin underneath. (The larva stage)
- At 2 1/2 inches long, the caterpillar is now fully grown. It stops eating, and looks for a safe place to make a cocoon (The cocoon-metamorphosis stage)
- In one week the adult moth emerges to live it’s life for only one week (The moth stage)
In total from egg to adult to death a Luna Moth lives about 10 weeks…now there’s a life that’s over in a flash!
If you have 3 minutes to spare, watch this video…I found it fascinating because I learned from it that we have seen luna moth caterpillars in the garden before…maybe you have too.