Ottawa (Dunrobin), ON Canada
19 June 2004 1:29AM EST (top)
13 June 2003 12:00AM EST (center)
16 June 2003 11:00PM EST (bottom)
Actias luna, commonly called the Luna Moth, is one of
about 10 species of Saturniidae recorded from the Ottawa area (J.D. Lafontaine,
pers. comm., 2001). The Saturniidae, variously termed the Giant Silkworm
or Royal Moths include our largest and some of our most spectacular moths.
Actias luna has light green wings, and the hindwing has
a long narrow trailing tail, unique among moth species in my area. The
costa of the forewing is deep velvety purple, joining up with a band of purple
across the yellowish thorax. Midway along the costa, the purple branches
down a short distance to a small transparent "eye" rimmed in purplish
black, reddish, yellow, white and yellowish green, darker colors along its inner
edge and paler colors along its outer edge. The hindwing is also marked
with a transparent "eye" in a pale circle with a blackish arc along
its inner edge. Apart from the costa of the forewing, the margins of the
wings are usually frosted with white, sometimes with some yellow along the outer
margin. The wingspan ranges from 7.5 to 10.5 cm (Covell, 1984).
According to Handfield (1999), the larvae of Actias luna
feed primarily on birch, but may also eat hop-hornbeam, oak, elm, poplar,
willow, maple, butternut, hazel and a number of other trees and shrubs.
For my general area, he indicates an adult flight season from mid-May to
slightly after mid-July.
My records to date for Actias luna (each date
representing "the night of") are in the table below: