09 August 2007

A luna moth on its last leg wing


I found this battered luna moth (Actias luna) yesterday around noon. It was clinging to some grass blades out in the blazing sun by the side of a road. Something had torn off most of its right wing. It was alive, but could no longer fly. I picked it up and left it in the shade of a tree. About 45 minutes later on my way back from my walk, it was still there. So I put it under my hat and brought it to my office.


It just stayed there in my hat the rest of the afternoon. This morning I found it tucked into the corner of a wooden box on the shelf below the hat. It was still alive.


The moth's wide and branched antennae identify it as a male (here is a comparison of the antennae of male and female moths). The males use their big antennae to detect the pheromones emitted by the females.

If I get a chance to take better close-up pictures of the antennae, I will post them here.


Bug_girl said...

Poor moth :(

But beautiful antennal photos!

Frank Anderson said...

We had a live, happy male luna moth resting near our house last week, and another one (maybe the same one) whapping up against the basement window last night, trying to get at the fluorescent basement lights. My wife says they are out of season -- spring and early summer are supposed to be the peak months?