The series of photos above show the Luna caterpillar from 1st instar to cocoon. It takes about 10 days for the egg to hatch into a tiny caterpillar and about 5-6 weeks to grow into the full its size of about 2.5 inches long and 3/4 inch in diameter. The caterpillars are green in all instars except the first and resemble polyphemus. The 5th instar caterpillars are not as voracious as polyphemus and it was a little easier to keep them supplied with leaves. I raised 15 on Sweet Gum and they did very well as the cocoons were all larger than those of their parents.
This photo shows an adult male that hatched from one of my first six cocoons. The wings are thinner and more delicate than those of polyphemus. I had some difficulty obtaining a mating. It seems that the moths do not like the cool nighttime temperatures we have here which are typically in the 50's F. They appeared to be paralyzed when left out at night. I finally had success by bringing them indoors.
Return to the Raised Page