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Old 09-02-2009, 08:30 PM   #1
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Default what job does a luna moth have?

Yesterday I was watching a documentary about Indiana's Natural Heritage. They had a bit about luna moths. Luna caterpillars eject their digestive systems before cocooning. Luna moths have no mouth parts and do not feed. They mate, then lay eggs and die.

This may seem like a strange question but...
If luna moths don't help pollinate then what beneficial roll do they playin nature, either as moths or caterpillars?
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Old 09-02-2009, 08:36 PM   #2
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I'm pretty sure they are in the food chain. Maybe near the top of the menu for predators? Owls eat moths (in addition to many other things)

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Old 09-02-2009, 08:44 PM   #3
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Ants in the genus Trachymyrmex form small colonies and harvest fungus. One species is unusually wide spread over North America, where as all other fungus growing species are restricted to states just above Mexico. Part of their success is the inclusion of Caterpillar Frass to use as compost for the fungus gardens. Any caterpillar can fill this roll but that of a giant silk moth must be a gold mine. Though uncommon, they range from southern NJ, OH, IL, and on down to northern CA.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:48 PM   #4
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Lots of insect species breed as adults and that's about it. Some live for many years but only a short time as adults.
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Old 09-02-2009, 10:57 PM   #5
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Cicada's have a similar life style. They take something like 15 to 17 years to develop underground. The larval stage feeds on tree roots and the adult form is there only to mate and reproduce. I don't think they eat at all.
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Old 10-23-2009, 12:37 PM   #6
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I've wondered the same thing myself. I think of them as the creators of caterpillars who are a valuable foodstuff for birds.
MrAnts, thanks for the info about ants using cat frass to harvest fungus. That's a new one to me. I am continually learning about all the things that those resourceful ants do!
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
I think of them as the creators of caterpillars who are a valuable foodstuff for birds.
LOL What a job. Baby factories!
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:38 PM   #8
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They eat leaves pretty well and most of those taste awful.
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Old 10-24-2009, 05:44 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milkweed View Post
If luna moths don't help pollinate then what beneficial role do they play in nature, either as moths or caterpillars?
IMHO, there really us no good answer (from a human standpoint, anyway) to philosophical questions of this nature . Why not just enjoy their beauty? Just as an aside, I have noted that bats often snack on moths in this family -lots of calories in those plump bodies!
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Old 10-24-2009, 06:03 AM   #10
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Suunto, I love your comments. They are so drool--I mean droll! I keep meaning to tell you that I also love your signature line, by the way. I have found that sentiment to be often true.
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