I raised Luna Moths a member of the Saturniidae family, also known as “Giant Silkworm Moths” as part of an educational display at the Butterfly Tent Safari. The process was the same as when I raised  Polyphemus Moths  except that the Luna Moths ate Sweetgum Tree leaves as their host plant. These Luna moths turned out to be the first of two generations to mate, lay eggs and die.  The second generation will over-winter in a wrapped leaf cocoon.

Luna MothLuna Moth Caterpillar

Luna MothLuna Moth Caterpillar

It is easy to tell a male and a female apart when comparing their antennae. The males have larger bushier more feather like antennae to smell the pheromones of a female to find her for mating. The female has smaller thinner antennae and tends to stay put waiting for the males to sniff her out.

David Alexander is author of the Buzz Into Action & Hop Into Action Science Curricula.  He specializes in making nature accessible to people and wildlife.  You can follow him at www.natureintoaction.com

 

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