Saturday, April 7, 2012

Luna Moth Hunt!

(photo credit: Steve Whalen)

It is spring in Lennox Woods. That means many things, among them, luna moths! Luna moths are glorious large pale green moths which inhabit woodlands of deciduous trees. As caterpillars, they especially like hickory and sweet gum, which we have an abundance of at Lennox Woods. The moths emerge in the spring for about one week to mate, lay eggs and then die. So the opportunity to see them is quite limited.

This past Wednesday evening Dr. William Godwin, an entomologist and curator of the East Texas Natural History Collection in Frost Hall at Jarvis Christian College at Hawkins, Texas , and our friend B.F. Hicks from Mt Vernon, TX, an amateur naturalist, came out to the Woods for a luna moth "hunt". Other friends from Clarksville and Mt Vernon joined us, and of course Allen Phillips was there to capture it all on film. (Photo credits below: Allen Phillips)

Dr. Godwin set up a mercury vapor light and several sheets to reflect the light. He explained that we would attract all sorts of interesting insects (which we did) but that the moths generally come out after about 9:00 PM.

It just so happened that an almost full moon framed by beautifully illuminated clouds kept us entertained while we waited for the moths to arrive. And when they did, they came in droves! We had as many as forty or fifty fluttering around the light and in the woods nearby. It was magical!

I plan to do a series of drawings, dry points and etchings of the flora and fauna of the Woods as part of the exhibition, so the luna moths will certainly make an appearance in my work. Allen is preparing a film clip of the evening's activities which I'll post soon.


  1. Deborah I love these photographs. Makes us feel like we are right there with you. Can't wait to see the film clip of these moths and your etchings and drawings.
    "Forty or Fifty fluttering in the woods" that does sounds so...magical.
    Count me in to be following this fascinating project!

  2. I can't imagine what it would have been like to see so many moths (at night in that light, especially) - that would have been such a sight! These pics are great. I can't wait to see Allen's film clip.

  3. What an amazing sight it must have been! I look forward to seeing your work inspired by this special evening in the Lennox Woods!

  4. Wonderful, what an experience to have all those moths flying around you and to be glowing too. I also look forward to seeing your work inspired by this very fine evening.