One of the most beautiful silkmoth species in North America. Male luna moth, June 15, 2016, Fishers Island, New York.
I collected this male from a light trap around midnight and released him after a few pictures. You can tell the males apart from females in most silkmoths by the large, feathery antennae, which they use to “smell” pheromones of females, up to miles away!
Common name: Luna moth
Scientific name: Actias luna
Food: Luna moths feed on a variety of woody plants as caterpillars, including birches, persimmons, walnuts, sweetgums, and sumacs.
Ecology: As adults, they do not feed, and rely on the energy they consumed during their caterpillar stage to keep them alive until they find a mate. Unfortunately, they only live a few days after emerging from their cocoons.
Luna moths have been in severe decline for the past century. There are many reasons why: habitat loss through loss of native host plants, the introduction of parasitic flies and wasps that attack the caterpillars, and artificial light from buildings and streets that attract adults all contribute to population decline.
Adam Mitchell Photos