Wild Profile: Meet the luna moth

By JasonYoder/Shutterstock

Luna moths. They’re large, showy, and recognizable, sure, but count yourself lucky if you get a glimpse of one—they only live for about a week. And during the day, when their green wings help them blend in with tree leaves, they’re not always easy to spot.

Luna moths emerge from leaf-wrapped, football-shaped cocoons between late spring and early summer. They don’t eat. They can’t; they only have vestigial mouthparts. Instead, they live off the baby fat they stored as larvae after feasting on birch leaves. Just like adults, luna caterpillars—green, with yellow stripes—are big. They can grow to almost as long as a hummingbird. Yowza!

Night-flying lunas are attracted to light, which is why cottagers might see them fluttering near lamps, campfires, or cottage windows after dark. Time for a PSA! Artificial light isn’t healthy for moths, or any other nocturnal creature, so don’t leave your porch lights on all night if you don’t need to. Nature—not to mention astronomers, and your lake neighbours—will thank you.


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