Moths of North America
American Moon moth
Superfamily - BOMBYCOIDEA
Family - SATURNIIDAE
Actias luna, USA
There are 11 species
in the genus Actias, found variously in
North America, temperate Asia and the tropics of south-east Asia.
All species are pale green. The crescent-shaped ocelli on the
forewings are linked in luna and
several other Actias species to the
costa by a short bar. The hindwings have circular ocelli and are
adorned with long tails.
Actias luna occurs across the eastern states of the USA, and
also in Mexico and Guatemala.
This species is
found in deciduous and mixed forests.
foodplants include Betula,
Diospyrus and Liquidambar. The
cocoon is formed on the ground among leaf litter.
The adult moth usually emerges in
late afternoon, and expands its wings in 3 distinct phases, first
the forewings reach full expansion, then the hindwings, and finally
the tails. Prior to expanding the tails the moth always readjusts
its position such that the tails naturally droop with a twist.