Luna moths are among the largest moth species in North America, with a wingspan of 3 to 4 inches. They are common in deciduous forests from Saskatchewan to Texas, and from Nova Scotia to Florida. Scientists believe that populations of luna moths throughout their range have adapted to prefer particular local hardwood trees as host plants, including birch, hickory, beech, willow, and cherry.
The larvae have five molt stages, or instars, culminating in the formation of a pupa encased in a papery cocoon and wrapped in leaves. After about three weeks, their metamorphosis now complete, adult luna moths cut their way out using serrated spurs near the base of the front edge of their wings. They typically emerge in the morning, leaving time to spread and dry their wings before their first night of flight.
July 22nd, 2020
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