Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

Species Actias luna - Luna Moth - Hodges#7758

Luna Moth - Actias luna - male Luna Moth - Actias luna Actias luna - male Luna Moth - Actias luna Luna Moth Caterpillar - Actias luna Third-instar larva - Actias luna
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Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths)
Superfamily Bombycoidea (Silkworm, Sphinx, and Royal Moths)
Family Saturniidae (Giant Silkworm and Royal Moths)
Subfamily Saturniinae (Silkmoths)
Tribe Saturniini
Genus Actias
Species luna (Luna Moth - Hodges#7758)
Hodges Number
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Actias luna (Linnaeus, 1758)
Explanation of Names
luna is Latin for "moon"
7.5 - 10.5 cm wingspan
The hindwings have long curving tails. The wings are pale green, each with a transparent eyespot.
Pink or brown on outer margin in southen spring brood; yellow in northern and other southern broods. (1)

Larva lime-green with pink spots and weak subspiracular stripe on abdomen. Yellow lines cross the larva's back near the back end of each segment (compare Polyphemus moth caterpillars, which have yellow lines crossing at spiracles). Anal proleg edged in yellow.(2) Sparse hairs.
In the United States this species has been found in every state east of the Great Plains
Deciduous hardwood forests
One brood in the north, May-July. Three broods in the south, March-September. (1)
Adult Luna moths do not eat; their only object is to reproduce.
The caterpillars eat a variety of trees including white birch (Betula papyrifera), persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), sweet gum (Liquidambar styraciflua), hickories (Carya), walnuts (Juglans), pecans, and sumacs (Rhus).
Life Cycle
The adults have a life span of only about one week.
Coccoons are concealed in leaf litter. (1)
Life cycle images:
eggs; early instar larvae; older larvae; prepupal larva; pupa; cocoon; newly emerged adult; adult male
See Also
Larvae of Polyphemus Moth are similar but lack subspiracular stripe and have diagonal lines crossing at spiracles.
Print References
Covell, p. 49, plate 1, #6, plate 2, #4, and plate 9, #8 (1)
Works Cited
1.Peterson Field Guides: Eastern Moths
Charles V. Covell. 1984. Houghton Mifflin Company.
2.Caterpillars of Eastern North America
David L. Wagner. 2005. Princeton University Press.