Luna moths

I wish these photos had turned out better.  Unfortunately, the early morning light and thick clouds made it quite difficult because of shadowy contrasts and dim illumination.  The moths also were near the top of a large light pole, so I was looking up at their position on the dark wood framed with lit clouds.  Overall, I didn’t have much luck capturing respectable images of this pair.

Still, you can see what I saw the morning of March 18 when I arrived at the family farm.  Both the male (at top) and female (at bottom) luna moths (Actias luna) undoubtedly had consummated their lives in the only thing they can do as adults: mate.  With no ability to eat, they live only about one week, during which their only focus is to propagate the species.

As with the plebeian sphinx moth (Paratrea plebeja), blinded sphinx moth (Paonias excaecatus), and Polyphemus moths (Antheraea polyphemus), lunas are yet another species of giant moth that live in great numbers within the woodlands of East Texas.  And like the others I’ve shown, they seem to treat the central light pole at the family farm as a place to congregate en masse, copulate, lay eggs, and die.

In fact, at the height of their season the pole can be covered from top to bottom with these moths.  The sight of it is breathtaking.  Fluttering wings in vast numbers make the tall wood post appear alive in some way, a writhing and active giant, an elongated macro cell mobilized by green flagella.  To be awestruck is to understate how captivating a vision they create under those circumstances.

Two luna moths (Actias luna) in dim morning light (177_7755)
Two luna moths (Actias luna) in dim morning light (177_7753)

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