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Old 04-19-2012, 09:37 AM   #1
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Default Luna Moths: Why are they attracted to flowers if they don't eat as adults?

I was reading about Luna Moths, but couldn't find the answer to this question. The adults don't feed. They live for a week or so, and their sole purpose is to reproduce. They survive off of what they ate as larvae. So why, then, are they attracted to flowers, if not to nectar? I am just curious, and I couldn't find the answer online.
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:58 AM   #2
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I think it is because their larvae need to eat the flowering plant and they are looking for spots to lay their eggs, not feed on them.
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:27 AM   #3
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The only time I have ever seen Luna Moths is at dusk,coming out of trees. Very pretty in July in the eastern mountains if you hit the timing right. It can seem like it is raining lunas. But many of them are attacked and killed by a wasp that attaches and sucks all the fluid. Then very quickly ants finish the moth off. Very efficient food web. The Mr and I have watched this occur while camping.
With such a short life as a reproducing adult,attracting a male then laying lots of eggs is the sole occupation of the luna female. Only thing for the male to do is mate.
Check out this video. You see a luna through its life cycle.

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Old 04-19-2012, 10:38 AM   #4
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I will never understand why some do not want their videos shown on other sites but you can watch it at you tube. duh.

Luna Moth life cycle - YouTube
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Old 04-20-2012, 08:38 AM   #5
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Ohhh.... excellent YouTube!!! The luna moth cocoons are spun in leaf litter.... if anyone's "tidying" up their leaves.... they're unwittingly wasting their lunas.
--
Here's another YouTube of the wings,
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:02 AM   #6
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Don't you just love youtube? Even the really amature videos show how interested so many people are in wildlife and nature.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitcatclub View Post
I think it is because their larvae need to eat the flowering plant and they are looking for spots to lay their eggs, not feed on them.

I wasn't sure that this was true, that's why I asked. For example, in northern climates I read that Luna Moths use Birch as a host plant. And yet, they are attracted to Moonflowers in people's gardens. I don't think Moonflowers ever serve as their host plant, even in their southern range. Isn't this correct? So why would they be drawn to those flowers?
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Old 04-20-2012, 12:18 PM   #8
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The scent? I have never seen this happen (Luna moths on moonflowers, other moths but not luna) though I'm sure chemical scents from the plants may draw males looking to find females that might also be drawn to the scent. This is speculation for this particular moth though I know it to be true of some others. Something to look into. There are many adaptations between plant and creatures that are still little understood. This is one of many reasons that growing plant communities native to a region seems to make sense to me.
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:23 PM   #9
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I love this site...and the comments from our wonderful members:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
The luna moth cocoons are spun in leaf litter.... if anyone's "tidying" up their leaves.... they're unwittingly wasting their lunas.
Nice to know...I only rake leaves into beds and leave them in the wilder areas, so there should be plenty of leaf litter for them and other things that benefit from it.

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Don't you just love youtube? Even the really amature videos show how interested so many people are in wildlife and nature.
Excellent point. I really do think that there are many out there who do enjoy wildlife and nature. Hopefully, more and more of them will learn the benefits of using natives and...

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There are many adaptations between plant and creatures that are still little understood. This is one of many reasons that growing plant communities native to a region seems to make sense to me.
...and creating natural plant communities. I love it. That is what I want to do, but at times I feel/fear that I'm just throwing things together without knowing if they'd naturally grow together.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
...and creating natural plant communities. I love it. That is what I want to do, but at times I feel/fear that I'm just throwing things together without knowing if they'd naturally grow together.
Dapjwy - Maybe this would help:
(Downloadable)
http://www.naturalheritage.state.pa.us/fikebook.aspx
.
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Last edited by NEWisc; 04-24-2012 at 10:34 PM. Reason: Corrected Link
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adults, attracted, birch, butterfly, caterpillar, eat, eggs, flowers, host plants, life cycle, lifecycle, luna, luna moth, mate, mating, moonflowers, moth, moths, native plants, plants, scent

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