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The Gift of Luna

by Jane Cramer, Assistant Butterfly Curator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Luna moth caterpillar on a sweet gum tree branch.

Nice camouflage, right!?

Did you enjoy National Moth Week?   At  Butterflies LIVE! we love moths.  You may have  read about our Luna moth caterpillars in the Butterflies LIVE! exhibit or seen them, but did you know there is a story behind them?  The Garden’s naturalist friend, Linda McBride, gave us 15 of her Luna moth (Actias luna) caterpillars for display.

After receiving permission from the USDA, who issues  our exhibit permit,  we eagerly housed our new caterpillars in a large net with fresh American sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) tree leaves to eat. Since that time, all of the caterpillars have made cocoons.  Come join us this week and see what other surprise visitors we have!

If you’d like to meet Linda McBride in person, she will be teaching  a class at the Garden on August 13 entitled “Butterfly Gardening.”   The class is FREE for Garden Members, and $15 for others.  Register now!

Naturalist Linda McBride discusses basic butterfly anatomy and reproduction for species common in our area and food and nectar plants. She’ll discuss basic requirements for a butterfly garden, emphasizing native plants our local pollinators prefer and touch on dangers to these insects, including predators and habitat loss. Following the presentation, Linda will have a ‘show and tell’ with live specimens. Interested participants may join Linda for a brief garden walk to observe pollinators in the Garden.

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