Luna Moth, Actias luna
Saturniidae or Silkworm Moth Family

Adult Moth

Large moth, one of the largest in North America, up to 4 inches in wingspan. Wings pale green, with transparent eye spots. Forewing edged at top with pink, purple or yellow. Hindwings with long tails. Antennae large, feathery. Males and females similar, but male is has much larger antennae (middle row, right). They smell with their antennae and the male needs big onse to find females.

Caterpillar lime green, covered with short white hairs. Has faint pinkish to yellow spots and a faint yellow line on either side. The face (lower left) and rear (lower right) can be green or brown. In our area there may be two or three generations of luna moths each year.

Caterpillar feeds on a variety of trees, including hickories, walnuts and sumacs, all of which are common in the Park. Adults do not feed and live only a few days. They are totally focused on finding a mate and reproducing.

Known from all of the eastern US and Canada as far east as Nova Scotia. The adults fly and mate by night. In the daytime they can often be seen resting on branches or walls. Look for them on the restroom walls.

The adult moth is unmistakeable, but the caterpillar could be confused with other large green caterpillars.

Head Adult Moth, wings spread Antennae
Caterpillar face Caterpillar side Caterpillar rear

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