Raising Lunas: Mating

Given their short lifespan, Lunas have to be pretty efficient about getting together. The way they do it: the female finds a place to sit and sends pheromones out into the air. Males can sense them from as far as a mile away.

It’s this system that makes it possible to breed Lunas. There are a variety of ways to do it, but I usually take a female and make her a harness out of dental floss. Then I tie her to a stick so she can’t fly away, and set her out on my front porch late at night (you want a wild male because you need a fresh set of genes).

I go out to check about 4 a.m. or so, and she’s usually got a beau. I put a cage over them, so they don’t get munched by birds.

That evening, I let him go and put her in a paper bag. She’ll lay her eggs on the inside of the bag. The next day, I’ll release her near a sweetgum or other host tree where she can finish laying. A female Luna can lay 200 eggs.

About 10 days later the cycle starts again.