Let’s Get Buggy

I am more keen on sighting birds than other smaller wildlife, like insects.  But on occasion, an insect presents itself.

I came across this beautiful, bright neon green caterpillar last fall; I couldn’t believe it’s size, almost three inches long.  I later learned it was a Luna Moth caterpillar.

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Luna Moth Caterpillar

 

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Luna Moth Caterpillar

 

As a caterpillar, it eats constantly for about a month and then builds a cocoon, where it lives inside for about three weeks.  It then emerges as a huge, beautiful Luna Moth.

The Luna Moth is one of the largest moths in North America, with an average wingspan 3 to 4 1/2 inches.  Below is the caterpillar’s transformation into a moth.

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Luna Moth (male)
Courtesy of Wikipedia

 

Interesting fact:  As a moth, the Luna Moth does not have a mouth or digestive system, therefore, it doesn’t ever eat.  That’s because a Luna Moth only lives for about a week after leaving the cocoon.

 

 

29 thoughts on “Let’s Get Buggy

  1. What a fantastic caterpillar you found, Donna. It has a rather diaphanous look, and beautiful color, and I like those little orange spikey markings. The size that you describe is amazing. We don’t have luna moths in California, and I would love to see one, so this was a great treat for me, thank you.

    • Thank you, Jet. It was that bright neon green that caught my eye from a distance. 🙂 I had looked up their maps and they are pretty much only on the east half of the United States. Interesting!

  2. Nice shots of the caterpillar. I was surprised by the short life span of the moth. If I had a bucket list of insects to see this moth would definitely be on it.

    • Thanks David. I was surprised too, felt kinda bad for them after reading about their short life. And yes, it’d be a real fun shoot for you! I’ve only seen it one time many years ago, it was perched on the side of our house, stayed there all day, and then was gone. It was huge!

  3. I didn’t realize that their life cycle was so short… only two months start to finish. I guess most lepidoptera are that way, come to think of it. I’ve only seen dead Luna moths, never alive, probably because they are nocturnal.

    • I didn’t know anything about life cycles with moths, to survive daily from being eaten, and then still live so short. Many years ago we found a Luna Moth on the side of our house, it stayed there all day, then was gone. It’s size was amazing!

  4. I have read about Luna Moths, Donna, but have never seen one. I think I will have to come east to do so. They look like magical creatures, as do their larvae! So exciting that you got to photograph them.

    • We had a Luna Moth on our house all day long many years ago, it’s the only one I’ve ever seen. What a huge beauty it was! I’ve learned too that they are from central U.S. to the east only.

  5. What a strange and marvelous creature! I don’t know, but I wonder if I ate nonstop for a month, I might check out rather quickly. 🥴

    • Thank you, Reed! I didn’t know about their life cycle either until I researched. My gosh, the poor thing was probably ‘gone’ before I got to processing his photos… 😖

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