While relaxing with a cup of java on the back porch a few nights ago, I was startled by the rapid, crazed movements of a giant moth as it fluttered around the porch light. It took several seconds for the moth to secure a comfortable spot on the weathered back door. He stayed in the same spot for a while but after being disturbed (by me), he moved to a porch beam.
Because I had never been so close to a luna moth, I took advantage of his temporary presence. I was fascinated by his beauty and size. His bright green and yellow wings were edged in deep purple and his long hind wings featured two beautiful circular eye spots. His white body appeared soft and fuzzy which reminded me of cotton. His large, bushy light yellow antennae helped me to identify him as male.
Luna moths are among the largest moths in North America, having a wing span of up to 4.5 inches. They fly, only at night, in spring and summer. The adults don't eat- they don't have a mouth! They live for only about a week and their only purpose is to mate. The females release a chemical at night which attracts males. The adults die shortly after mating or laying eggs.
It seems unfortunate that these beautiful creatures have such a short life span, but nature has her reasons, though we don't always understand them.