Reproduction: Bow Chicka Wow Wow!

The main purpose of the adult Luna Moth is to reproduce.  The female lays about 200 eggs on the bottom of Black Walnut leaves.  Males look different to females, as they have larger, bushier antennae. 

The eggs hatch after ten days. Caterpillars start to eat right when they hatch. The Caterpillars continue eating and growing until they have completed molting their skin five times which lasts for about three to four weeks.

The fully-grown caterpillar is 2.5 inches long. It then proceeds to spin a silk cocoon by its mouth and wraps itself in a leaf. It then stays in this cocoon for two to three weeks unless the caterpillar must overwinter in their cocoon in which the adult Luna Moth will not eclose from it's cocoon until the next Spring.

Once the adult Luna Moth ecloses from it's cocoon it will not be able to fly right away. The adult moth needs to rests and grow it's wings as they are still not fully developed. While the moth waits after eclosing in the morning it will climb a tree trunk and hang its wings to dry which allows the wings to fill with blood for the first time. Once the blood is fully circulating in the moth's wings it will wait just a little longer till night where it will fly off in search for a mate!

Adult Luna Moths don't eat during their entire short adult life for their only purpose is to reproduce.  They moths will only live for about a week so they must get down to business quickly.  To attract males, females release a chemical at night which the males will sense and follow back to the female.  Adults die after they are finished mating  and laying their eggs. 

A link to a cool video to watch about the life cycle of the Luna Moth is below. Check it out along with other videos by the user backyardbugs who has other great videos of many other types of insect species as well! Luna Moth Life Cycle

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