Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Emergence of a Luna Moth
This is a cocoon.

Formed high in the trees of a North American deciduous forest, it has withstood the bitter cold of winter and now prepares to empty its cargo into the warm spring morning.

What was once a slumbering caterpillar has undergone a sea of molecular and structural changes, becoming the creature that will soon emerge.

After a painful, body deforming birth, it is hard to appreciate the beauty of this newly made lepidopteran.

Give it time. Born into the morning, this wonderful nocturnal creature requires the day to prepare for the night ahead.

First, it must climb to a safe perch where it can be free from predatory harassment. Then it will spend the next several hours pumping blood into it's tiny wings, filling them out to their truly magnificent size.

At last she is revealed in all her glory. Fully formed and ready for the night life, this female luna moth (Actias luna) waits anxiously for dark.

She exists for one purpose. Find a mate. She doesn't even have a mouth, as she only has a week to live and won't waste it searching for food.

And this is where we will leave her. Perched high in a tree as night falls, singing her siren's song of heavy pheromones into the darkening  sky.


  1. Hi Jason

    Excellent blog! Thanks for your comment on my moths blog and re. light-tarpping - I certainly recommend it. Traps can get pricey; the best I know are at the venerable UK firm of Watkins and Doncaster ( But if you're at all handy, it's not hard to make your own and I think there are quite a few tips online about that. Now I shall check out your blog.

    All v best


  2. Splendid stuff Jason. I had my own first Luna of the year here on Friday night.

    Moth trapping over over here? To paraphrase Richard Dreyfuss

    " I think we're going to need a bigger trap!"

    I do keep feeling the strong temptation to tarp trap here as I know there has to be so much that I'm missing.

    But now its only the first week in May and don't feel I could spend any great amount of time in the backyard after dark with out a mosquito-proof HazMat suit. 2011 is going to be a bad one.

  3. Indeed you're right. All this rain in the eastern US is going to make for veritable bugsplosion this year.