One of North America's most stunning insects, the luna moth is common but rarely seen. Its nocturnal nature and habit of dwelling high up in the forest gives it a mysterious and almost-mythical reputation.
A female lays hundreds of eggs on favorite host trees like hickory, sweetgum, walnut, and birch. Once hatched, a luna moth caterpillar remains on the same tree and eats continually. To defend themselves, they can make clicking sounds and regurgitate to alarm and deter potential predators.
Like other Saturnidae, pupae cocoon themselves in leaves bound with silk, and rely on leaf litter to stay hidden on the forest floor. Adults do not feed, but live for about a week and spend it searching for a mate. Males can find a pheremone-releasing female from miles away, and make the journey to continue the cycle with her.
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