Lovely Luna

Luna Moth Actias luna

Luna Moth Actias luna

While working in the Garden of the Wizard by the Sea I came upon this dear sweet Luna Moth in the full bright light of a very sunny day. Having fulfilled her life’s duty to lay some 200 eggs she was quite weary and spent . Softly she was trying her best to expire while blending into what little shade the flora around her offered in a rather public and busy location with much noise. Too tired to make it back to the dense shade of the forest she found herself captive to the sun, for Luna Moths only fly at night. I kept my eye on her as I tended the gardens,weeding and planting and after 5 hours I noticed she was no longer so firmly holding onto a daisy’s stem. She was fading as the human sounds around her grew harsher. I pondered her predicament, taking in the loud noise of the passing traffic and the sunlight harsh on her midnight loving wings. I consulted with the fairy folk and it was determined that I should transport her to the woodland garden of the fairies and let her pass from this life in peace. Gently I snipped the stem she now so weakly held on to, resting her on my gardeners scarf beside a branch of lilac as I transported her to the gentle cover of the forest. Once there I set her in the woodland and as night fell the fairies came to sing as she ever so quietly, ever so gently, departed from this world. 

la luna


If you have ever encountered a Luna Moth you know how unforgettable they are. Effervescent green, they are magical in appearance with a wingspan of 4 and 1/2 inches. Their hind wings have “eyespots” and 2 long tails. Their bodies are white and their legs are pinkish. Males and females look the same though males antennae are bushier. Luna Moths are among the largest moths in North America . They come out at dusk flying only at night in spring and early summer. These moths have a very short life span, in which they have just one quest and that is to find a mate and breed . During her short life the female moths lays eggs, 200 of them in small groups of 7 or so . Once laid it will take 10 days for these eggs to hatch into caterpillars. Here in Maine the eggs are laid on the bottom sides of the leaves of Red Maple, White Oak, White Birch,Smooth Sumac, American Chestnuts, Willows and Beech. As soon as the caterpillars hatch they begin eating the leaves of their host tree. The caterpillars will eat and grow, molting (shedding) their skins 5 times over a 4 week period. This molting/shedding process is called instar. Each instar increases the size of the caterpillar as well as changes it’s appearance somewhat . In all stages of instar the caterpillars are green however the hairs on their backs change in color and volume, as well they increase in size.When the caterpillar is 2 1/2 inches long it is fully grown and will spin silk from near it’s mouth wrapping itself into a leaf. It is now called a pupa and is inside a cocoon. Pupa stay in their cocoon about 3 to 4 weeks and then hatch. If  late in the season and close to winter they will remain in their cocoon and hatch in the spring. The leaf with cocoon will drop from the tree in autumn, becoming sheltered by falling leaves. When Adult Luna Moths emerge from their cocoon they are very tired. Though weary, they climb high up into the treetops hanging so their wings are upside down. This allows the wings to inflate with blood. After completing this process the moths wait until darkness falls to take flight. During the twilight hours of darkness female Luna Moths secrete a chemical scent that guides the males to them. After the female Luna Moth lays her eggs the male and female moths fly to a protected woodland glade to gently and quietly pass from this life. Adult Luna Moths live for only 7 days, they have no mouths and cannot and do not ever eat! The lovely Luna Moth I found in the Wizard’s garden for whatever reason had lost her way back to the forest and found herself caught in the bright light of day. I was happy to escort Luna back to the forest of kindhearted fairy folk who honored and blessed her with their kindness, then released her spirit to the wind and let her go.

la luna (1)ab

The fairies sang to dear Luna.