Half Moon (Luna Moth, Actias luna)

Copyright Michael Marlow | Bugphoto.net
A luna moth (Actias luna) rests at the of a roof, half in the sun, half in the shade.

The Giant Silkworm Moths (family Saturniidae) are surely crowd-pleasers, in both larval and adult forms. I can’t say there are any I have no affinity for, but the luna moth is my favorite. They only fly as adults for about a week, having no feeding apparatus, with their singular purpose to mate and set in motion the next generation. This individual came in the summer of [a long time ago] when I saw six or seven luna moths. I don’t think I had seen a wild one before or since. Maybe this year.

On another note, being a bit of word person, I have long been curious as to the etymological origins of the genus name Actias. I haven’t searched in a while, but my previous efforts were fruitless. Any insight or knowledge into that mystery would be most welcome.

4 thoughts on “Half Moon (Luna Moth, Actias luna)

    1. Wow, that’s even better! I believe Actias sp. are known as moon moths generally, so that makes a lot of sense. It could/probably refer/s to the tails. That website is the first place I’ve seen any etymological info. Thanks so much, David.

      1. Your welcome. I enjoy reading about the etymology of words. Several years ago I looked into the cost of the Oxford English Dictionary. In college I used to commute to school and some semesters I’d end up with an hour or two between classes; not worth going home and coming back.

        To kill time I’d go to the library and read all the old 1940s and 1950 Reader’s Digests for the joke pages. It was interesting reading the stuff published during WWII.

        I’d also read the OED. Of course I looked up the etymology of all the dirty words first before moving on to words that interested me. :) The OED is all electronic now and even old abridged book versions are several hundred dollars so for now I do internet searches.

      2. It really is interesting to see how words developed over time, and are still developing. Interestingly, I wondered if the OED had come installed on macOS, I remembered there being a mention of “Oxford” somewhere, but it’s the Oxford Dictionary of English…which is apparently a version or a part of the OED. I think on their website they said it was smaller. I’ve never really used the OED, sadly, skipped right to the Internet. :)

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