The Catskills ~ Luna Moths

Checking out of our fog-bound Catskills hotel, we were greeted with a luna moth on the veranda. One of the giant silk moths, Actias luna is large, startling, and spectacular. (See the comments for the status of these show-stoppers here in the city.) Wingspan ranges from 3-4″ in length. Each of the four wings has an eyespot; the hindwings spots here are just visible through the forewings. The streamer-like tails of the hindwings are like curling silk.Note the loops of the feathery antennae, above, and the white underline in the eyespots, below (click on image to open to bigger view). Later in the day, when we took shelter from a downpour, we found another luna hanging onto the wall of a campground restroom. Like the first, it had been attracted to the structure’s light.

8 Responses to “The Catskills ~ Luna Moths”


  1. 1 xrisfg June 15, 2011 at 8:15 am

    When were they extirpated? I saw one in my Park Slope backyard maybe 15 years ago.

    • 2 mthew June 15, 2011 at 9:39 am

      I hope I’m wrong, but I base the notion on the re-introduction attempt that failed in Central Park in the late 1990s. Of course, that’s Manhattan, meaning I made the cardinal error of assuming the Inner Borough is the whole city. It looks like they can be found on Long Island, so B and Q may very well see them sometimes.

  2. 3 xrisfg (Flatbush Gardener) June 15, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Habitat loss would be the culprit. But it seems possible they could be reproducing in Brooklyn and Queens. BAMONA has a nice summary at http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species/Actias-luna

    • 4 mthew June 15, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      The overpowering number of lights in the city may also be a factor. It makes them easier to pick off by predators. The two I saw were sitting ducks, attracted to lights during the evening and staying there come morning, and afternoon. We aren’t collectors, but they were certainly vulnerable to that as well, I hope they had done their business (reproduction, that is).

  3. 5 mthew March 28, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Reblogged this on Backyard and Beyond and commented:

    Lazy Saturday…. so a blast from the past.

  4. 6 richie May 4, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    luna moths are incredible…i really consider myself fortunate to have seen one, albeit in the light of a bright moon in Centralia, PA. Simply awesome in the true meaning of the word!


  1. 1 A Wider View « Backyard and Beyond Trackback on January 18, 2012 at 5:58 pm
  2. 2 Insects of the Weekend | Backyard and Beyond Trackback on July 22, 2014 at 7:07 am

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