These moths are native to most of the eastern USA, including Connecticut. They are a type of silk moth and usually appear around early June. Here we will start at the cocoon phase of its life cycle and watch as it emerges to face the world!
This picture shows the cocoon casings that protect the vulnerable caterpillar inside. While the caterpillar is metamorphosing, it is unable to move and escape danger. To work around this, the Luna Moth spins a shell of silk and leaves around itself before beginning the process for protection.
The time has come, this Luna Moth has finished transforming from a caterpillar to a moth and is ready to leave the safety of its shell.
The moth has a small claw like spike on the base of its fore wing to allow it to break down the cocoon wall to escape. This moth is struggling as it is caught on one of the fibrous parts of the silken cocoon and is desperately trying to detach itself.
After emerging the Luna Moth must spread it wings by filling them with the insect equivalent of blood (with the help of gravity as well).
Fancy meeting you here.
Note the long curved hind wings that look like tails. It is thought that these wings are curved to disrupt bats use of echolocation, confusing them long enough for the moth to escape. Bats are a common enemy of the moths as they are both nocturnal. Luna moths are not a rare site to see, however they are difficult to find as they only live for a week as adults and fly at night.
Cue the dramatic lighting.
Wings fully spread and ready to look for a mate to repeat the cycle all over again! This moth is a male because of his very thick antennae. He will use these to "smell" for another female moth during the night.