Butterflies and Moths of North America

collecting and sharing data about Lepidoptera

Luna moth
Actias luna (Linnaeus, 1758)


Family: Saturniidae
Subfamily: Saturniinae
Identification: Hindwings have long curving tails. Wings are pale green, each with a transparent eyespot. Outer margins are pink in the southern spring brood, yellow in the southern summer brood and in northern populations.
Wing Span: 2 15/16 - 4 1/8 inches (7.5 - 10.5 cm).
Life History: Adults are very strong fliers and are attracted to lights. Mating takes place after midnight, and egg-laying begins that evening. Females lay eggs in small groups or singly on both surfaces of host plant leaves. The eggs hatch in about one week and the caterpillars are sedentary and solitary feeders. Leaves and silk are used to spin papery brown cocoons in litter under the host plant.
Flight: One brood from May-July in the north, two to three broods from March-September in the south.
Caterpillar Hosts: A variety of trees including white birch (Betula papyrifera), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), hickories (Carya), walnuts (Juglans), and sumacs (Rhus).
Adult Food: Adults do not feed.
Habitat: Deciduous hardwood forests.
Range: Common. Nova Scotia west to Saskatchewan and eastern North Dakota; south to central Florida, the Gulf Coast, and eastern Texas.
Conservation: Not usually required.
NCGR: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally, though it may be quite rare in parts of its range, especially at the periphery.
Management Needs: None reported.
Comments: NULL
Taxonomy Notes: This moth is often mistakenly referred to as the Lunar Moth, instead of the Luna Moth. It is also sometimes referred to as the American Moon Moth.