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News Story
Updated: 05/15/2013 08:02:36AM

The amazing southern
luna moth

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Bill Dunson

PHOTO PTOVIDED

Luna moth male.

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The luna moth is believed to be fairly common from Canada to northern Mexico and Florida but is rarely seen. This is only one of the few I have encountered. It is one of the most beautiful and one of the largest moths in North America. The adults do not eat and exist only to breed for about one week. The spectacular green color seems to be a type of camouflage yet the presence of false eyes or eye spots reveals a mechanism to scare away bird predators if it is detected.

Spring-emerging moths 
in the south have a purplish or dark border around the wings and the same color on the legs. In the north the color is yellowish and in summer-emerging southern moths. Why this difference occurs is a mystery. The male moth has larger antennae than females; one purpose of this difference is for the male to detect pheromones released by the female so that he can fly to her and mate.

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