“The Lunar Moth is attracted to the moon as a source of light”, Bronwyn Varty-Laburn often shares with me how she believes that the Lunar moth – or African Moon moth – signifies rebirth and new beginnings and returning to the light within. These incredible creatures seek light in the darkness and are the ultimate teachers of transformation.
The Lunar Moth is arguably one of the most beautiful things that we see at Londolozi. With their large emerald green wings, infused with yellow and a splash of red eyespots, they are unmistakeable if you are lucky enough to have one cross your path!
With large green wings,
she is graceful as she flies.
She carries marks upon her back,
like two feral eyes.
Antennas are like tiny ferns,
feathery and pale.
Her tail is like a swallow,
yet delicate and frail.
Watch her on a summer night,
while crickets sing a tune.
She flutters through the darkness,
by the light of the moon.
Enjoy her while you can,
you may only get a peek.
For sadly life is short for her,
she only lives a week.
They are rarely seen due to their short adult lives (when they are in the form of a moth). Living for only a few days…After three years of being at Londolozi knowing that this magical moth was out there, I eventually saw one on the path to camp on my way to my early morning game drive.
I could not believe it. Unfortunately, it must have been its last night as all that remained were its wings.
I had always wanted to see one; I have a Lunar Moth that I painted on my favourite coffee mug; friends will often give me gifts with its beautiful image on it. I picked up the wings and examined them gently. I was amazed at how strong they were and how detailed the eyespots were. This is such a clever nature invention; the theory is that the eyespots are to deter predators, making them believe they have been spotted and therefore can’t ambush the moth, allowing it to move away to safety…
It may seem strange that a moth is so green compared to the common brown/white species, but the colour and shape of the wings are perfectly adapted to mimic a leaf, and the trailing ends of its lower wings (hind wings) resemble a dried out leaf stem, to act as camouflage when they are clinging onto the leaves of a tree in the day time.
Their large wings (around 10-12 centimetres or 3.9-4.7 inches) are so beautiful and mean so much to me that I decided to frame them instead of let them get trampled on.
The local people in the Lowveld regions use the silver cocoons of the Lunar Moth to make ankle shakers used in traditional dances and blessings.
It’s believed that if you crush up the roots of a Weeping Wattle tree and the Lunar Moth cocoon together (once the moth has transformed and left it) and you bathe in water infused with the mixture it, it will protect you from any evil and get rid of any curses you may be under.
I love to look at nature from old myths and ledges… Whether you believe it has some spiritual significance or not. Maybe it’s just that this remarkable moth undergoes such a significant transformation from a hairy caterpillar to a magnificent detailed winged moth that flutters towards the light of the moon, and maybe we are just seeking a lesson from nature that transformation can fundamentally change your identify but your core reason for being is to try and find the light…For me the lesson was to just to stop, notice and appreciate the beauty of finally seeing a Lunar Moth.
Filed under General Nature Life Wildlife
What a beautiful creature, thank you for the pictures.
Lovely blog thank you! I hope I get to see one, they are incredibly beautiful
Jess, that is certainly THE most beautiful moth I have ever seen💗…sadly I have never actually witnessed it myself. Love the facts and the legends so super interesting, thanks so much 🙏🏻💕
Jess, I loved the James Tyrell🤗
I love Luna moths as well. I find the remains of one about once every year or two, but when I see a live one, that’s when I get really excited. I think I’ve maybe only seen a live one a handful of times in my whole life. They’re so pretty and have so much symbolism attached to them.
Very interesting reading. For the last 4 years I have been working As a volunteer to protect the habitat of the Monarch butterfly
Wow Jess! What an incredibly beautiful creature, and a lovely post in it’s honor. Another lesson I take from your account is that the process of getting to the ultimate incarnation, the short life as a moth, then quick subsequent death is just as important, if not more so, than the incarnation itself. Beautiful post!
Such pretty pictures and a wonderful story. I would like to see such a moth one day.
Oh my , Jess! It’s such a beautiful surprise, I can imagine this gorgeous moth has symbolic meanings… i can’t stop looking at the pictures. Is is poisonous to birds and other predators? So sad it lives a week only. Hopefully there are enough moths as to perpetuate species …
Beautiful story of the luna moth Jess. It certainly is so spectacular and the colours are vibrant. The yellow eye with red and black on the wings makes it so special. Pity it lives only a few days. I tend to agree with Bronwyn that it signifies rebirth and new beginnings.
Thank you Jess for this heartfelt tribute after discovering the wings of the beautiful Lunar Moth. The colors and shape of its wings are unique in the insect world to say the least but now I understand how their colorful appearance is an exceptional camouflage tool. I appreciate the facts and legends illustrated in your blog and hope that one day you will see the magic for yourself, watching a lunar moth reach for the light.
I have never seen a Lunar Moth before, wow!
They are really beautiful.
Thank you for sharing this Field Guide Jess, today I learned something new.
The local people of the lowveld have so much cool things they believe in.
I hope it is the first of many Lunar moths you get to see!
I should hope to see one there one day!