Quick Note: Actias Luna in Utah?

Actias Luna

The range of the Luna Moth, (Actias luna), a large, beautiful Santurniidae is not known to extend as far East as Utah.  I have read though, (trying to find the reference) that they are sometimes found as far East as middle Montana which would be about the same longitude as eastern Utah.

I lived for many years in Uintah county.  On two separate occasions a few years apart, I found one of them clinging to my house below the porch light.  This spring and summer I’ll be going back attempting to collect them and document that their range does in fact extend into Utah.

Though it has been several years, I believe there is a good chance for success.  I know the area where I earlier observed them very well, and the habitat is still in pretty much the same shape today as it was then.

Anyone care to join me?



Quick Note: Actias Luna in Utah? — 9 Comments

  1. Hello,

    There are several of us who would love to join you in your hunt for Actias luna. I have also been told they can be found here in Utah, in AF canyon and along the Wasatch front.

    Feel free to share you adventures with us on our forum at UtahEntomology.com. This would be a great place to get some trips planned.

    The Utah Society of Entomology
    Co-Founder / Site Admin

    • Thanks for commenting Craig and also for the information that others have seen Luna’s in Utah. I’m in the process of gathering equipment now, and will be ready to head that way sometime in the spring. I look forward to meeting you.


  2. What? Luna moths in Utah? I had no idea! I manage the insect collection at the Natural History Museum of Utah and none of ours is from anywhere near this west. How exciting! I’d love to know if you find some.

      • Thanks for commenting Christy. In addition to the two that I saw on my home a friend brought me one in plastic bag to identify. He too lived in Uintah county.

        BTW, do you know Clairissa Jensen? I think she interned at the museum a year or two ago. I used to work with her mother.


  3. Gary,
    It is nice to see there are other moth lovers in Utah. I have been keeping Satunidae records from Utah for about 20 years. Have never run across any records of the Actias luna. I am excited for you to confirm your past experience. I will be very interested in any data you have on saturnids in Utah. I will also be interested in going out collecting when you go. If you are interested, I will be giving a presentation on the Saturnids of Utah at the Utah Lepidopterist’s Society meeting in March. I would like to see you there and anyone else interested in Moths.
    Thanks for making this site.

    • Thanks John,

      I’ll be attending the Lepidopterists’ Society meetings in the future. I have not been an active collector for many years. I intend to correct that starting this spring. I’m looking forward to meeting you and others at the meetings. Again thanks for posting the comment.


  4. Welcome to the society of lepidoptera enthusiasts. I hope to meet you soon. Interesting what you said about Luna Moths in Utah.I don’t suspect them along the Wasatch Range, but maybe you are on to something for eastern Utah. Interestingly, I just reared a bunch of Lunas in 2010 on the black walnut tree in my backyard. With all the English and black walnut trees around I would not be surprised if you do find some in Utah. Maybe they are escapees from someone’s earlier Luna rearing. I also am interested in the moths, especially the Catocala, the Tigers and the Saturnids.
    Take care,

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