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Luna Moth–A forest surprise!

Luna moth

I was looking for Pink Lady’s Slippers in the rain. After finding two on accident, my excitement propelled me up the bank along our driveway, to ascend the steep hill.

I snapped a few shots of the emerging wildflowers, then scanned the hillside for glimpses of the bright green leaves of the lady’s slipper orchid. The leaves are just beginning to pop out, so no flowers blooming just yet. Not the best shot, but you get the idea. I took this from the video I shot.Pink lady’s slipper shoot in forest

What is that green thing?

I did not find more lady’s slippers this day. I did, however, scan the hill for more, and my eyes kept returning to a spot of green–the same shade as the lady’s slipper, but the wrong shape.

I decided to take the climb to check out the shape. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking that it looked like a Luna moth, but I second and third-guessed myself, because I’ve only ever seen the Luna moth in the summertime, and at night.

It’s a Luna Moth!

Luna moth in forestSure enough, however, when I huffed my way to the middle of the sharp incline, I did find not one, but a pair of Luna moth on one stick. They hung like a mirror image of each other.

I don’t really know too much about the Luna moth, but decided to look them up once I spotted these two.


Just the facts

Of course, Wikipedia provided the facts, and I refreshed my hazy memory on some of those.

I found the following page more interesting in terms of what I was seeking–namely, did I find a mating pair?

Luna Moth Life Cycle: Journey Through Stages

The answer is yes, as far as I can tell. The Luna moth pair that I discovered in the woods appeared to be hanging out for an extended period of time. In other words, they were not flying about, as they normally do when I see them. Luna moth Pinterest image

Were they mating?

I can’t say for one hundred percent certainty, but that is my hunch. The above article states that in their adult phase, their sole purpose is for reproduction. They do not even eat! Luna moth in forest

The Luna moth only live for about a week, during which time they mate, lay eggs, then die. So when you catch a glimpse of a Luna moth, just know that’s pretty special.

Just a note: while the luna moth looks a bit similar, and even possesses a little horn in the back, these are not the same as a tomato horn worm.

Male vs. Female Luna Moth

I discovered that the male Luna moth possesses the bushy eyebrows, er, antennae, and the female sports a slender pair. I had to look twice, because at first, they both looked feathery to me. I almost threw out my theory of a mating pair, convincing myself that they were both males with big antennae. When I took a closer look, I saw that one Luna moth did have a more slender pair.

Just Hanging

Perhaps they were shy with me watching, or maybe this is their common practice, but their mating ritual looked rather uninspiring. Luna moth pair

I actually considered that maybe they had just emerged from their chrysalis(es), because both just hung very still on the branch. I thought it would be quite a coincidence if they both emerged at the same time, on the same stick, though, so who knows?

Share the joy

I hollered at and texted Greg, who happened to be just down the hill working. He didn’t look as impressed as I was with my discovery. That’s ok; I showed enough excitement for the both of us. Luna moths and man in background in woods

I’m quite happy that I decided to climb the hill and check out the green shape. I don’t mind that they weren’t orchids. Today, I’m thanking God for beautiful Luna moths!


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Tomato Hornworms in the Greenhouse video

Ridge Haven Homestead Blog, Book of Nature

What is your experience? 💜 I read every comment, and so many times I find that I gain encouragement from what’s shared. ❤️