The moths »Actias luna« and »Actias selene« in the family of Saturniidae, carry the Moon in their name – maybe because they are attracted to light and we connect them with the night; although, they can also be active during the day. But perhaps it is because of the crescent shaped wings or the pattern on top of the wings, which remind us of eyes that may have contributed to the naming. Luna is the moon goddess in Roman mythology, Selene is the equivalent in Greek mythology.
Frank Frazetta (1928–2010) was an American fantasy and science fiction illustrator and belongs to one of the greatest artists of this genre. With his distinctive style, he was as a great example to an entire generation of artists. His work continues to receive high appreciation, down to the present day.
He began with illustrations of covers for comics and books in the 60’s began (i.e. »Conan the Barbarian« or »Tarzan«), designed movie posters (i.e. »What’s New Pussycat?« or »The Fearless Vampire Killers«) and album covers. In addition, he created a lot of free art work.
Inspired by his trip to the coast of Maine, USA, the American artist and lithographer Fitz Hugh Lane (1804–1865) – aka Fitz Henry Lane – created the full moon painting »Fishing Party«, in 1855. He was a representative of the American luminism, a painting style characterized by a specific form of light-flooded landscapes in the 19th century (lumen = lat. light).
The Sonoma Valley is a valley in California, close to San Francisco Bay and is also referred to as “Valley of the Moon”. The original Native American Indians who inhabited this valley, called it “sonoma”, which means “Valley of the Moon” in their language. The Miwok and Pomps were Native American tribes that spread in the northern part of California and also settled in this valley. In a legend of the Miwok tribe, it says that the Moon rose from the Sonoma Valley and is there in complete harmony with nature.
Scorpions have the quality that they are fluorescent and glow when in contact with UV radiation. This becomes clearly visible, when they are directly exposed to UV light. However, the UV components, which are contained in the sunlight and the moonlight, are hardly sufficient to produce this glow to an extent that it is visible to humans. Still, scorpions appear to detect the UV components and hence react to moonlight.
The antlion is the larva of the myrmeleon, which belongs to the net-winged insects. This insect grows to be 0.6 inches and predominantly stands out because of its large jaw pincers, which let you anticipate its predatory disposition. The antlion is famous for its sophisticated method catching prey. It digs funnels in the sand that function like a trap for other insects (i.e., ants or spiders). When prey steps on the edge of the funnel, the antlion begins to throw sand on the animal from the bottom of the funnel. The thereby created movements, activate the slipping of the funnel walls and transport the prey directly into the fangs of the antlion, who then kills them with its poison.
Even though the idea would be wonderful: this is not about trees that grow on the Moon, but about trees on Earth that grew from seeds, which orbited the Moon exactly 34 times, in a small canister, during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971. For this joint project by NASA and USFS (US Forest Service), the astronaut Stuart Rosa took hundreds of tree seeds with him on this journey. Seeds of five different species of tree had been chosen: loblolly pine, sycamore, sweetgum, redwood and douglas fir. The seeds survived the weightlessness and also when the canister that contained the seeds, got destroyed in the vacuum of the decontamination chamber. The seeds had to be picked up individually after this incident.
Our article “Fishing during a full moon” has already indicated the discussion about whether moonlight might influence the behavior of fish. Now we have found a study, which was conducted by Australian scientists in 2013, who have examined the diving behavior of 39 gray reef sharks in Palau (an island country in the Pacific Ocean), namely with regards to environmental influences, like water temperature and also lunar happenings, in particular the full moon and the new moon. They tagged the sharks with transmitters and thus were able to measure where and how deep they dived during certain times.
Repeated attempts have been made creating a connection between lunar phases and natural disasters. To our knowledge, it has not been possible so far, to establish nor prove a causal link. Of particular note is the well known earthquake and tsunami in the Indian Ocean in 2004, which happened at the full moon. Was this a coincidence? Were there other tsunamis that occurred during a full moon?
Jellyfish are fascinating beings and although, nobody would actually like to come into contact with them, we are mesmerized by them and admire their shapes, colors and almost etheric bodies, which are floating through the water – like entities from another world. And lo behold, there is also one kind that the Moon lent his name to: the »moon jellyfish« (lat. aurelia aurita).
Also in various other languages, you can find the word »moon« in the name these jellyfish: