Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Luna Moth Chronicles: The Final Chapter

Our last cocoon hatched early, despite my hopes for it to overwinter. This time, however, I was ready!

This is Clover, who is a male Luna moth. He emerged from his cocoon after being in the pupal stage for 7 weeks. We had warm weather at the time and I wonder if he emerged too early?

Sadly, Clover's wings were deformed. The lower wings were nothing but little grey stubs, and his upper wings never fully expanded. His sister, who emerged a week ago had fully developed wings. Clover had a little spell during his 4th instar where he got sick and we thought we might lose him...I wonder if that affected his wing development?

Isn't he sweet? Okay, maybe a face only a mother could love!

Clover, crawling on my son's hand. Clover had a weird "bubble" on his wing (on the right), which burst and sprayed green blood (?) on the floor. He didn't seem to be bothered by that incident and kept right on crawling.

We had to keep him indoors since the weather turned cold again. I kept him in the bathroom with the door shut, trying to keep the humidity levels higher for him. The dry heat in the house caused his sister Corvella to dry out.

Back view

Clover was with us for 6 days. The lifespan of an adult Luna moth is a week, so even with his deformities he lived a full life! Note the difference in his wide, feathery antennae from his sister, Corvella's, which were much narrower.

Front (belly) view

Clover was buried under a rock, next to Corvella, and his other caterpillar siblings.

It's hard to believe my Luna Moth Chronicles are over after three months of caring for these guys. It was an awesome experience to watch the life cycle of this gorgeous creature, from egg to adult moth. I'm saddened by the thought that they didn't get to fly off and mate to complete their life cycle.

Considering they would have never hatched from their eggs if I hadn't rescued them from the beetles I suppose they had a good life, filled with yummy sweet gum leaves and sticks to climb!


  1. I just found this post looking for pictures of luna moths on the internet and I must say its really adorable. :') Love the idea of a person intervening in nature for the GOOD of animals rather than the unfortunate (but much more commonplace) opposite. Just wanted to say thanks for this and keep doin' your thing!

  2. Thank you so much! I appreciate the encouragement!

  3. how long were they in the racoon? I found one and didn't know what it was until now that I looked at this pictures. I have it in a little jar and I don't know what to do. Today I notice it started to move. I think it has been in the racoon for maybe 4-7 days. It is a brown racoon like the one u had. Will it come out brown or green?

    1. Mine were in the cocoon for about 7 weeks. How long yours will cocoon depends upon the species of moth and the season. It's very hard to tell what you've got from just looking at a cocoon. If it's a Luna Moth it will come out green.

      I would recommend taking the cocoon out of the jar and placing the cocoon in a larger area because when the moth hatches he needs a stick to climb up so he can dry his wings. Luna moths are big and need a large amount of space. My first moth hatched before I expected and tragically couldn't fly because she was trapped in the container. See this post

      Good luck!


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