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Luna moth, Shenandoah National Park, 2015.
One of the largest moths in North America, the luna moth (Actias luna) has a wingspan of up to 4.5 inches (114 mm). Adult luna moths emerge from a coccoon vulnerable and wet. Within about two hours its body and wings will have dried and hardened. As with all Saturniidae, the adults do not eat or even have mouths! An adult luna moth's entire purpose is to mate before its short (about one week long) life is over. This interesting moth produces differing numbers of generations depending on the climate in which it lives. For example, in its northern range of Canada, they produce only one generation per year. However, a little farther south in the northeastern United States, they produce two generations each year. Farther south in the United States, where it's warmer for longer, they can produce up to three generations each year. Amazingly, the female luna moth lays 400-600 eggs, 4-7 at a time - or even more in favorable climates!
U.S. National Park Service
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Shenandoah National Park, Code: SHEN
Title: Shenandoah National Park
Organization: Shenandoah National Park
Address: 3655 Hwy 211 East, Luray, VA 22835

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