lizbrownlee – poet

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M is for Moth – Moon Moth

John Saxon

Photo by © John Saxon on Flikr.

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The luna moth lives in North America. It is a beautiful, huge, pale-green moth, 4.2 inches across, but is seldom seen as it only flies at night.

Caterpillars feed on a variety of plants including walnut, birch, alder and, rather appropriately, Moonflower leaves.

The moth makes and hatches from a very thin, one layer of silk cocoon – it is quite active in this cocoon, and can wriggle and make a noise to deter predators.

It hatches in the morning and waits all day for its wings to dry, and at nightfall flies off to find a mate.

Luna moths do not eat during this phase of their lives, and have no mouth. They only live a few days.

The females release a chemical pheromone into the air – the males can smell this over great distances and are very single-minded about following the scent back to the female – she mates with the first one who reaches her.

Soon after mating or laying eggs the moths die.

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Photo © John Saxon.

Poem © Liz Brownlee.

Information from Wiki.

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9 Comments

  1. Glorious Liz, I always learn so much from your poems too x

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  2. Liz

    Another lovely poem, Liz – and the size of this moth reminds me of the Death’s Head moth we see in Tenerife.

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  3. Great poem and picture. Aside from mating, what benefits does it give? Pollinate? I am just curious as it is so beautiful

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    • Hi Birgit! Both caterpillars and moths play an important part in the food chain of the ecosystem – they feed birds and bats, and although the adults do not have mouths so don’t pollinate by feeding on nectar, they still pick up pollen on their hairy bodies so may well pollinate in that way.

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  4. Actias luna 🙂 Silk moths are amazing creatures. When I worked in the butterfly house we had moon/comet moths (Argema sp.) and Attacus atlas. Amazing to handle and show people – suddenly they understand that moths aren’t just ‘little brown things that eat your clothes’. The amount of times I had to reply to that with ‘no moth eats clothes’ and watch the confusion take hold.

    Anyway, sorry, I could go on and on about moths (I’m refraining). Lovely poem (as usual) 🙂

    ~M~

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    • Thank you! Don’t bother refraining on my account!

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  5. Love this post. And the photo is lovely, looks so delicate. That a weird word to describe a moth I know.

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