Actias luna (Actias luna)
Phylum — arthropoda
Class — insecta
Order — lepidoptera
Family — saturniidae
Genus – actias
Newborn caterpillars are black with yellow spots. Later they turn reddish-brown with black dots. The color of the older caterpillars is bright green. The caterpillar is covered with hairs.
Wingspan is typically 8–11.5 cm (3.1–4.5 in), and in rare instances as much as 17.78 cm (7.00 in). Females and males are similar in size and appearance: green wings, eyespots on both forewings and hind wings, and long, sometimes somewhat twisted tails extending from the back edge of the hindwings. Bodies are white and hairy. The forward edge of the forewing is dark-colored and thick, tapering in thickness from the thorax to the wing tip. Its color can range from maroon to brown. The eyespots, one per wing, are oval in shape on the forewings and round on the hindwings. Each eyespot can have arcs of black, blue, red, yellow, green or white. The eyespots are thought to confuse potential predators.
Actias luna occurs in the forested areas of North America.
Actias luna is a nocturnal species, and is not often seen in the daytime. As do many saturniids, Actias luna uses wing patterns as a defense against predators. Actias luna can mimic living and dead leaves on the ground by remaining motionless when not involved in reproductive behavior and also becomes nearly impossible to see during the day when roosting on the bark of sycamore trees. The moths will also dramatically flutter their wings when attacked.
Actias luna is an insect herbivore. As a caterpillar it feeds on the foliage of various species of hickory, walnut, sweet-gum, persimmon, and birch trees.
Adults have vestigial mouthparts and do not feed. Energy is from fat stores created while a caterpillar.
For their reproduction you need a terrarium with a size of 50 x 50 x 70 cm. Females lay 200–400 eggs, singly or in small groups, on the underside of leaves of the tree species preferred by the larvae. The duration of incubation is 8-14 days. Incubation at a humidity of 50-70% and a temperature of 22-24°C. If the newborn caterpillars do not begin to feed, they should be placed for 1-2 days in a dark place. The caterpillars should be kept in mesh terrariums for 6-8 insects. A birch branch should be placed in the terrarium. Forage plants should be replaced every 3-4 days. Insects should be kept at the room temperature and humidity of 50-60%. The caterpillar develops for 4-5 weeks. Then the caterpillar makes a cocoon in the leaf litter, weaving leaves and thin twigs into it. It is the place where it pupates. Cocoons can be stored for several months in the refrigerator if you need to change the time of hatching of butterflies. Actias luna pupae are surprisingly active and being touched they wriggle inside the cocoons, producing an audible rattling sound. The butterfly leaves the cocoon after about four weeks, depending on the temperature and humidity. The butterfly's life span is 7 days.
The mesh terrarium with a size of 50 × 50 × 70 mm is suitable for keeping butterflies. Room temperature is necessary.