Luna Moth

By William T. Hathaway

Luna Moth

The Luna Moth may produce two or three broods beginning in late March thru September in Southern Virginia. Experienced collectors say that they are often attracted to lights and mate after midnight. Egg-laying begins that evening on the leaf surfaces of the host plant. It takes their eggs about a week to hatch and the caterpillars feed alone, unlike many aggressive caterpillars that feed in large groups.

Caterpillars eventually crawl to the ground and spin a papery cocoon by using leaves and silk: this takes place in leaf litter below the host plant. The long tails account for the inclusion of this species in the large silk moth group.

With the spread of human populations large silk moths are difficult to observe within city limits. Old collecting spots have fallen victim to innumerable lights.