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Luna Moths Are Large, Lime Green Beauties With Long Trailing Wings

Amy Pilkington 5 Sep 2020

Moths don't get nearly as much love as their butterfly cousins, but a lot of that seems to stem from the fact that we just don't see them very often.

Since a major difference between the species is that most moths prefer evening and nighttime to fly about, they can be harder to spot and any beautiful colors can be hidden by the darkness.

Sure, many moths are browner and duller than butterflies, simply for safety reasons.

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It's easier to hide from predators if you aren't showing off, but species like the luna moth prove that butterflies aren't the only beauties.

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Luna moths have white, fluffy bodies, but their claim to fame are their impressive wings.

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Spanning four-or-more inches across, the wings are a pale lime green that somehow manages to still feel vibrant. Each wing has a false eye on it to confuse predators and the hindwings have long, trailing tails.

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Though common throughout most of Canada and the United States — basically everywhere east of the Rocky Mountains — they are hard to spot.

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They rely on deciduous trees such as maple, walnut, or oak, as hosts for their eggs and caterpillars. Keeping outdoor lighting to a minimum if you have such trees in your yard can help the species thrive.

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Part of why they can be so hard to see in person is that the adult stage is very short.

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In Canada and the northern States, luna moths only breed once per year and live only one week in their adult stage. This means there is a very short window in late-May or early-June where the moths are even present.

In the southern States, it's a bit easier, since they will breed two or three times in a year.

h/t: Canadian Wildlife Federation

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