Actias luna host plants

Actias luna (Linnaeus, 1758)
Suitable host plants:
“Luna moth”
Recorded host plants:
Acer rubrum (Sapindaceae) “Red maple”
Acer saccharum(Sapindaceae) “Sugar maple”
Aesculus hippocastanum (Sapindaceae) “horse chestnut”
Alnus glutinosa (Betulaceae) “Black alder”
Betula pendula (Betulaceae) “Silver birch”
Betula populifolia (Betulaceae) “Grey birch”
Betula papyrifera (Betulaceae) “Paper birch”
Carpinus betulus (Betulaceae) “Common hornbeam”
Carya cordiformis (Juglandaceae) “Bitternut hickory”
Carya glabra(Juglandaceae) “Pignut hickory”
Carya illinoensis(Juglandaceae) “Pecan nut”
Carya ovata(Juglandaceae) “Shagbark hickory”
Castanea dentata(Fagaceae) “American chestnut”
Castanea sativa (Fagaceae) “Sweet chestnut”
Corylus avellana (Fagaceae) “common hazel”
Diospyros virginiana(Ebenaceae) “Persimmon”
Eucalyptus gunnii(Myrtaceae) “Cider gum”
Fagus grandifolia (Fagaceae) “American beech”
Humulus lupulus (Cannabaceae) “Common hop”
Juglans cinera (Juglandaceae) “Butternut”
Juglans nigra(Juglandaceae) “Black walnut”
Juglans regia(Juglandaceae) “English walnut”
Liquidambar styraciflua(Altingiacea) “American sweetgum”
Liriodendron tulipifera (Magnoliaceae) “Tulip tree”
Nyssa sylvatica( Nyssaceae) “Black tulepo”
Myrica pensylvanica (Myricaceae) “Northern bayberry”
Ostrya virginiana (Betulaceae) “American hophornbeam”
Plantanus lindeniana(Platanaceae) “Mexican sycamore”
Populus tremuloides (Salicaceae) “White poplar”
Prunus sp. – polyphagous (many unlisted possibilities)
Prunus domestica(Rosaceae) “Cherry”
Prunus serotina (Rosaceae) ”Black cherry”
Quercus sp. – polyphagous (many unlisted possibilities)
Quercus alba (Fagaceae) “White oak”
Quercus macrocarpa (Fagaceae) “Bur oak”
Quercus rubra (Fagaceae) “Red oak”
Rhus glabra(Anacardiaceae) “White sumac”
Rhus typhina(Anacardiaceae) “Staghorn sumac”
Schinus molle (Anacardiaceae) “Peruvian pepper tree”
Salix sp. – polyphagous (many unlisted possibilities)
Salix caprea (Salicaceae) “Great sallow”
Tilia americana (Malvaceae) “American basswood”
Ulmus procera(Ulmaceae) “English elm”

Recommendations: An incredibly polyphagous species that can be raised on a large variety of host plants. In the wild, Actias luna populations predominantly use Betula, Juglans, Carya and Liquidambar – these plants are greatly recommended for captive rearing. It is “open minded” and will attempt to feed on many plants from the Betulaceae, Rosaceae and Rosaceae to such a broad degree that it is not possible to list all the possibilities. Northern populations mainly feed on birch (Betula papyrifera) while in the south the moths feed on Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana), Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and hickories (Carya) and sumacs (Rhus). In literature this is often mistakenly reported as a different food plant preference of northern and southern populations, however this does not take the geographic distributions of their host plants into account – in reality, the geographical range of host plants the most northern populations prefer to feed on are simply restricted to the north, while likewise the host plants that the southern populations prefer to feed on are found in the south, making their different “tastes” in host plants simply a result of the moths using the plants best available to them. For optimal result in captivity Liquidambar styraciflua and Betula papyrifera are strong recommendations.

Common name: “Luna moth”
Distribution: North America (United States), Canada, Mexico

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Citations: Coppens, B. 2019


The aim of this website is to provide information about many species of moths and butterflies around the world, with a slight focus on rearing them in captivity.

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