|Written by Susan Golis|
The luna moth is a giant silk moth, this exquisite moth has a wingspan of four to five inches and unique markings; the wings are a transparent green with pinkish purple and yellow.¬† The body is white and the antennas are thick and appear to be feathers.¬† The female luna will have gold antenna while the male will have a bluish tint.
The adult¬† lifespan is seven days.¬† During this time, the female will project a hormone to invite the male to mate. ¬†The moths are nocturnal and mate early in the morning.¬† The female moth will then lay approximately 200 eggs, these eggs will be laid on the backside of several black walnut leaves.¬† She does this so the caterpillars will have food to eat when they hatch.¬† When the mating and egg lying is completed, the adult luna moths will die.
Many people live their entire life without viewing the luna moth.¬† If you reside in North America from Southern Canada to Northern Florida and Western Texas to North Dakota then you may view the luna moth in spring however, you will have to attract this moth to your community.
Get involved with the environment of your community.¬† Encourage city official to protect the forest and wooded area in your community.
Educate your community leaders and residents on the importance of trees.¬† Teach them that trees are earth‚Äôs natural balance and that they protect our environment.¬† Speak to the education department about a luna moth field trip for the children.¬† Education is the key to attracting the luna moth to your community.
Encourage city officials to organize a spring and fall tree planting in parks and recreation areas.¬† Plant¬† black walnut, hickory, sweet gum, sugar maple, oak, and persimmon trees. These trees attract the luna moth as the caterpillar feeds off these trees leaves.
Contact the Arbor tree foundation concerning a luna moth tree planting for the residential and city streets in your community.¬† Encourage all to get involved.
Start a luna moth group, work with city official to discourage builders from cutting down trees, request a law¬† to protect trees.
Plant a luna moth habitat in your yard.¬† Grow the specific trees that the caterpillars eat.
Arrange for the parks to designate a specific area for the luna moth.¬† Install lights in this area as the adult moths are attracted to light.
In late spring to early summer, plan a moonlit walk in a state park so the community can view the nocturnal luna moth in flight.
A luna moth in flight appears as a transparent butterfly that is floating in the air, it is a remarkable sight.
The luna moth is an endangered species due to habitat disturbances and pollution.
Pesticides and chemical treatments used on your lawn, garden and trees will kill the caterpillars and the adult luna moth.