May 12, 2008

Lunar Moth...

This past weekend I saw for the first time, a Lunar Moth, which comes from a type of giant silk moth. They have long, sweeping lower wing-tails. The normal wing span for Lunar Moths is from 3 to nearly 8 inches across. This nocturnal insect is also found in deciduous hardwood forests in North America, from Canada to Northern Mexico. You can find them in almost any area that has deciduous trees if you hang out near bright lights at the night where they like to buzz around. The Lunar moth starts life as a tiny egg then hatches into a plump lime-green caterpillar with tiny orange spots along the sides. At first the slow-moving Luna caterpillar eats leaves from the following trees: white birch, alder, persimmon, sweet gum, hickory, walnut, and sumac trees. After eating and growing to a substantial size, the caterpillar builds a brown, tent-like cocoon, and will eventually emerge as a fully-grown adult. Finally as a mature adult the Lunar Moth doesn't ever eat, instead it searches only for a mate so that it can breed and then it dies, which ranges from the span of 24 hours to 7 days.

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