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Insects and other arthropods

Luna moth

English
Actias luna

Tabs group

Description

The luna moth is one of the most beautiful moths. This magnificent insect, with its feathery antennae, is characterized by its emerald green colour and the extension of its back wings. The brown border of its back wings looks like a branch when the moth is resting. All four of its wings feature white circles with a yellow-orange (sometimes reddish) pattern, surrounded by a thin black border. Its abdomen is creamy white.

When it hatches, the caterpillar is green and brown spotted with long white hairs. Once mature, it measures 8 cm and sometimes more. The sides of its body are patterned with small black dots, a row of orange spots and a pale yellow line.

In our latitudes, the caterpillar leaves its host plant at the end of the summer and begins weaving its cocoon on the ground among dead leaves. The brownish, sometimes spherical cocoon is about 6 cm long. The caterpillar transforms into a chrysalis inside its cocoon and hibernates until the next spring. The adult emerges from the cocoon in mid-May.

Geographic distribution

The species is present in Canada, the United States and northern Mexico. In Quebec, it is common in the southwest part of the province. It is occasionally found around Quebec City and the lower St. Lawrence.

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