Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Current Moth Obsession - Post 2 The Face of the Luna Moth (Actias luna)

This gorgeous and large moth (up to 4 1/2 in.) is fairly well known by people interested in nature in North America, but we seldom take the time to really look at their little faces. As with most of the Lepidoptera (Moths and Butterflies), most of us tend to gaze at the wings and not look much further. Here's a gallery of Luna Moths, taking a closer look beneath the wings. You will notice a complete lack of a mouth, as Lunas only live for about a week once they metamorphose into adults and therefore don't ever feed... concentrating on reproduction.

This Luna disapproves of your choice of St. Augustine grass. It really isn't enviro-friendly, and the concept of lawns is so gauche.

Moths rely on their extremely sensitive antennae for chemo-reception (smell). Males have larger and more expansive antennae, as exemplified in this photo.

Chemoreception needs to be acute, as moths attract each other (often over great distances) using pheromones released into the air.

As with most moths, Lunas are more active at night, as the large eyes attest. They may still be seen during the day, however.

"Dude, I'm not pointing at you, its just what they do!"

A freshly emerged (from its cocoon) Luna Moth pumps fluid into its wings from its body, so that they may expand to full size and be used for flight. The whole process may take 2-4 hrs.

2 Lunas discuss the newly emerging linguistic trends in social networking sites.

"Dude, this chick totally smells like pachuli (sp?) and cheetos!"

Love is in the air, in the whisper of the wind. Love is in the airrrrrr... or perhaps just the biological imperative to pass on one's genetic code. Who's to say?


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