Friday, July 27, 2012

STEM Friday: Luna Moths

One night while I was writing, a huge moth flew into my screen. Its wings were of the palest jade and spanned the width of my hand. It hung around - entranced by the glow of my desk lamp - long enough for me to find a field guide and learn that it was a luna moth. A moth? How could such a beautiful creature be a moth? I thought moths were hump-backed, earth-toned drab sisters to their more colorful butterfly cousins.

Luna Moths are named for the moon. One of my favorite books for kids is A Luna Moth's Life by John Himmelman (Children's Press). It's old - published in 1998 - but a gentle introduction to a gorgeous night flier. And it might be just the book that encourages your shy-of-the-dark kid to head out into the night looking for moths.

Himmelman follows the life of a luna moth, beginning with hatching from an egg to overwintering as a cocoon wrapped in a leaf, to emerging and laying her own eggs. It's simplified, and the birds never get the bug, but it's a great book for sitting on the couch and reading and then saying, "hey! why don't we go look for some luna moths!"

Sandra Markles's book, Luna Moths: Masters of Change (Lerner, 2008) is more recent and aimed at older readers - from 7 on up. Markle is a close observer and introduces readers to luna moths from A (antennae) to W (wings). There are close-up photos and every page has a "moth fact". Did you know that luna moths are only found in North America?

Markle gives the inside scoop on luna moth anatomy. Lunas have brains and really long hearts, and nerves ... but where's the stomach? They don't have a stomach! Oh, says Markle - that's because the adults don't eat. Want to know where Lunas lay their eggs? She's got it in there. Want to know how they make that leaf-cover to protect their cocoon all winter? She's got that too.  A great go-to reference for moth week.

Check out more neat books and science resources at STEM Friday.
Also check out some other cool nonfiction reading over at Nonfiction Monday.


  1. Great minds think alike. I posted a list of books about moths and butterflies this week, too.

    Fabulous choices.

  2. Thanks for the moth book reviews- they look great:)

  3. Oh I have seen these moths here in Japan too! I am never really sure of the difference between moths and butterflies so I bet I would learn as much from this as my kids would!

  4. Funny! Just last night my husband and I cavorted around the room seeking to get a moth safely back outside (which we did). Looks like a good book!