Bug Photo Gives You Wings…and Tails…

But mostly wings.

Welcome to Bug Photo, where we take a closer look at bugs! The site’s opening photo is a bit besmirched by some signage (just so we know where we are!), but it features the curly tendril-like tails of a newly hatched Luna Moth (Actias luna; Family Saturniidae, the Giant Silkmoths), one of the most spectacular and beautiful North American (and, for my biased money, terrestrial) insects. It is a member of the Order Lepidoptera (literally meaning Scaled wing), which is comprised  of the Butterflies, Skippers and Moths. The fuzziness or furriness evident on the tails is actually the scales; the “hairy” bodies and backs of the Luna Moth are also made up of modified scales. You can also see yellow edges on the moth’s wings in this picture. The Luna Moth can be multivoltine (producing multiple broods/generations in a single year) depending on its geographic location, and the yellow typically indicates an individual which has hatched later in the year. Unfortunately, this particular individual was actually an early season arrival — too early to escape the cold weather conditions so adverse to the urgent reproductive calling of the Luna Moth’s short adult life span (usually 7 to 10 days).

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