The round markings on a luna moth’s wings are called eyespots.
The round markings on a luna moth’s wings are called eyespots.
Photograph by Matt Jeppson, Shutterstock

Luna Moth

A luna moth perches on a leaf, its bright green wings folded over its body. Suddenly the insect spreads its wings to reveal their great size. This moth's wingspan can stretch four and a half inches—that's about the same length as an iPhone.


Found only in North America, the luna moth starts out as a very hungry caterpillar. Newly hatched, this caterpillar constantly munches on the leaves of walnut, hickory, sweet gum, and paper birch trees. After about a month of filling up on these plants, the caterpillar builds a cocoon. The insect lives inside for about three weeks, then emerges as a moth.

The eye-catching critter is easily recognizable because of its wings. But that's not the luna moth’s only interesting feature. The insect doesn’t have a mouth or a digestive system. That's because it only lives for about a week after leaving the cocoon, and it doesn't ever eat.


Although luna moths don't have an appetite, they're a favorite snack for bats. To protect themselves from these predators, the moths spin the tails of their wingtips in circles. This disorients the bats so much that the moths are often able to make a getaway. Guess you could say they're winging it!