The Luna Moth, Actias Luna, is a North American moth often thought to be a butterfly. The bright green color and large size are atypical of what we usually associate with moths. Moths are often dull drab beasts that flutter around light at night time (this is valid). The Luna moth transcends its cousins, it is a majestic creature that is nocturnal, but neither dull nor drab.

This moth has a wing span of 7.5 to 10.5 cm, and curving tails from the hind wings that can be up to 5cm in length. It has lime or jade green wings with red borders. A Plumy orange antenna crowns its bright white fuzzy body. It has transparent eyespots on both front wings and hind wings to fool predators, these eyespots are bordered by yellow and maroon.

These silkmoths generally live in lush deciduous forests. The eggs take seven to ten days to hatch and the caterpillar is green with orange dots. It takes 5-6 weeks for the caterpillar to grow to full size (10cm length, 2cm diameter) and then weaves a brown cocoon. About a month later the moth emerges to complete its life cycle to mate and die.

While driving home from the East Coast last summer, I stopped at a gas station in Indiana, it was a BP along interstate 90. I left Cleveland that morning and was soon to arrive in Chicago, my vacation was over. I had spent a month driving, visiting my loves and friends. The whole day I had been in a funk. I paid for my gas and started back to my car. I noticed a big green spot on one of the garbage cans. I crouched down to get a closer look and here was this creature that seemed, I guess in shock. I prodded it with my finger and it did not move. It was in peril, gas fumes and number of automobiles was a sure death. So, I put it on my hand, walked it over to the green field adjacent the exit and put it on the broad leaf of a bush.

I don't know why, but putting that bug in my hand and moving it out of harm's way soothed my funk. It gave me a clue beyond the importance of my life. I just hope it got the chance to mate before it died.


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