Luna moths are endangered but not extinct. Luna moths have a very wide range. The largest and most common of the silk moths, the luna moth, is a tropical species found throughout the eastern United States and into Canada.
The warm temperatures and long growing seasons of the southern states allow four generations of this spectacular moth to occur each year.
The adult luna is easily recognized by its large transparent wings, which span four to five inches from wingtip to wingtip. Each forewing has a large eyespot near its base and a smaller one at its tip. The bright green hind wings have no spots but are edged with white crescents that flare out when the moth is startled or at rest.
Why are luna moths endangered?
Luna moths are endangered because the use of pesticides, loss of habitat, and pollution are some of the reasons the moth is a rare sight. Although the luna moth larvae are large caterpillars that feed on the leaves of many shrubs and trees, their populations don’t grow large enough to be a source of significant damage or destruction.
Luna moths are only active at night. They have a lifespan of just one week. During this time, they do not eat, as they lack mouths and stomachs. They rely on the energy stored in their bodies when they are caterpillars.
During their brief life, females emit pheromones which lure males to them from distances up to several miles away. After mating, females lay between 200 and 400 eggs on host plants by gluing them together in groups of 10 to 20 and attaching them to leaves. The eggs hatch into larvae after about two weeks.
Are luna moths rare?
No, luna moths are not rare. Worldwide there are more than 2,000 species of luna moths. They are found in North America, Europe, and Asia. In the United States, luna moths are found primarily in the eastern half of the country.
But despite their numbers, there’s a lot about them that’s still unknown. In fact, their lifespan is something of a mystery. The common consensus is that they live only one week as adults, just long enough to mate and lay eggs. However, they have been known to live as long as 11 days.
Another point of uncertainty is their coloration — or rather, the lack thereof. They don’t have any pigment in their wings or bodies, so the colors we see are structural hues created by light reflecting off scales on their wings.
Yes, luna moths are endangered. The problem is the loss of habitat they need to mature, lay eggs and survive through each stage of their life cycle. But there is still time to help these moths fully recover and not become extinct.