THE LU'AN MOTH

APPEARANCE - SPECIAL ABILITIES - TERRITORY
HABITAT/BEHAVIOURDIET - MATING - MYTH/LORE

The Lu'an moth is probably the largest of the silk moths in Caelereth. A fine silk type cloth is made out of the cocoon of the mature caterpillar.

Appearance. This large moth has a wingspan that can stretch from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the little finger of a spread hand. It has a stout thick body a finger length long that is covered in a fine hairy like fuzz. The front part of the body is thicker and a solid dark green in color. At about the middle of the body it starts to taper slightly and several rings of light green or white circle this part of the body. The wings of a Lu'an moth are light green with a reddish-orange border on the front. Each of the four wings have a round, transparent spot in the center that is surrounded by rings of blue and yellow. The back of the hind wings are stretched backward and make long, narrow, curving tails ending in reddish-orange tips. The wings are attached to the front part of the body. At the front of the body is a small head with to long feathery looking antennae a light green in color. It also has two fore legs and two back legs. The wings of this moth are dusted with a fine scaly powder.

The Lu'an Moth

View picture in full size Image description. The Lu'an Moth, one of the largest silk moths of Caelereth. Picture drawn by Bard Judith.

When the caterpillar first hatches it is about the length of a little finger fingernail. It will continue to grow until it is a little longer than the length of a finger. This caterpillar has four sets of pincer type feet near the head, two sets in the middle and two sets at the tail end. They are green colored and possess groupings of bristles along the sides and back. As they mature enough to begin spinning their cocoon, the color of the caterpillar will change to a very dark green color. Return to the top

Special Abilities. The Lu'an moth has no special ability but the caterpillar does spin a very strong and fine silk thread that is made into a cloth.
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Territory. The Lu'an moth can be found from the Kanapan Peninsula in the east to the Celeste Mountains in the west. As far north as the forests around Chapel Fjord and as far south as the Tandala Highlands. For unknown reasons this moth seems to be especially prevalent in the Wounds of Sylvan Forest on the Kanapan Peninsula, the Shaded Forest south of the Prominent Mountains and the Hovel Frond Forest by Crystal Lake. This is not to say the moth is not easily found throughout its range, just there are many more in these three places. It must be noted that occasionally the moth will be found in the Shadowlands Forest north of the Imlith Mountains but can not be considered part of its range.
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Habitat/Behaviour. The Lu'an moth will first start to appear about sunset and will be active throughout the night and find a place to roost for the day around sunrise. It seems their only purpose is to mate. When the caterpillar emerges from its egg it will take three to four weeks for it to mature during which they will go through several molts. When they have matured enough to start spinning their cocoons they will spin a long semi-circular mounded cocoon attached to the bark of trees or undersides of leaves. They will emerge as moths in about two weeks. They do this by emiting an acidic substance that breaks down the sticky binding of the silk at one side of the cocoon. The Lu'an moth normally emerges from its cocoon only during the mid morning and it takes approximately five minutes to squeeze out of the small hole it has made. Once out of their cocoon the moth will then have to climb and hang suspended from leaves, tree trunks, stems and various other plants while they inflate their wings, which at this time are less than a thumb nail long. The inflation process takes around an hour after which the moth will hang there slowly beating their wings until they stiffen. This will take until late afternoon, at which point they drop and fly away.
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Diet. Oddly enough the adult Lu'an moths do not seem to feed. The caterpillar on the other hand will eat a wide variety of tree leaves, dependent upon the geographical location where they are situated. They will not eat any kind of pine trees. The caterpillar has been seen to feed on the leaves of bushes at times too.
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Mating. Since the Lu'an Moth is nocturnal the mating is usually done around midnight. Maybe an hour or two before midnight the female Lu'an moth will extend a scent gland that is located in the back part of her abdomen. This scent gland releases an airborne pheromone that attracts the male. The female will continue to produce this scent until about an hour after midnight or until it has been mated. The moths will mate and remain coupled until the following evening. Females will lay small groups of 4-6 eggs on both sides of a tree's leaves. Over all though, a female Lu'an moth can only lay 200-300 eggs. These eggs will hatch in approximately nine to fifteen days and the caterpillars will begin their unceasing feeding until they spin their cocoons. The number of broods a female produces is dependent upon where in their range she is. In the northern part it is usually only once, while the middle of this range it can be a couple and the extreme southern could be as often as monthly.
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Usages. The Lu'an moth or its caterpillar are of very little use. It is the cocoon the mature caterpillar spins that is of value. When taken and worked it makes a strong fine silk fabric. The cocoon silk is a off white to yellowish color when first collected. It must be put in salt water and soaked for one to two days. This is done to breakdown the sticky binding that holds the threads together. It also will null the acidic substance the moth has used to break out. After the soaking it is laid out to dry before it is carded into thread and woven into cloth. What makes this silk so valuable is its silky strength and its ability to be dyed any color shading and then holding this color without the normal fading over time.
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