Actias luna, the American moon moth, is usually the typical moon moth depicted in culture. They are usually defined by their characteristic tails on the hindwings and transparent pale-green colour. Actias luna is quite easy to breed and rear and suitable for beginners.
Originating from North America, they cover a large range on the East-coast, all the way from Canada to Texas. Because of the large difference in climate in their range, their life cycle varies depending on their habitat – Canada is quite cold with harsh winters where temperature may even dip below -20C, while Texas is effectively a desert and quite hot. They may have 1 to 3 generation per year in the wild depending on their habitat, having only 1 generation in the colder areas up to 3 generations in the hotter areas. After the autumn generation, this species will go into diapause.
The caterpillars are bright fluorescent green and can be reared on the following plants: Birch (Betula), Walnut (Juglans), Oak (Quercus), Sweetgum (Liquidambar) and more. They have five instars in total, and spin a thin and tender cocoon among the leaves. Cocoons may overwinter.
Pairings are quite easy and straightforward, although couples may refuse to pair if they are genetically closely related to eachother, as to prevent inbreeding.
Although not very variable in colour, their appearance may differ. Some luna moths will have a red border on their wings (“rubromarginata”). General shape and size of the wings may vary too, the eyespots, and the colour may vary from pale green/white to lighter green with even hints of flourescent yellow.
This specie will do fine on room temperature in normal conditions. They don’t require much extra care except for plenty of food and hygiene.