One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A large North American moon moth which has pale green wings with long tails and transparent eyespots bearing crescent-shaped markings.
Actias luna, family Saturniidae
- ‘It's not glamorous, but I must say that if I had to metamorphose into an insect, I could have done far worse, such as a meal-worm or one of those creepy luna moths.’
- ‘Moths are generally distinguished from butterflies by their drabness, yet the luna moth is almost flamboyant.’
- ‘The poem's title arises from its final, extraordinary image of a female luna moth hanging in foliage outside a country church (presumably the Honey Creek Meeting House).’
- ‘Particularly fascinating for Cooper was that each grouping - luna moths pinned in neat rows, elephant skulls all in a line, a jumble of sharks in a jar of alcohol - was a constant reminder of nature's endless variation.’
Late 19th century: luna from Latin luna ‘moon’ (from its markings).
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