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What Is a Luna Wolf?

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A luna wolf is the alpha female of the pack. She’s the female counterpart to the alpha male. The luna wolf is the only one who’ll breed but will get help from other female wolves in the pack.

The word luna means “moon” in Latin, and the luna wolf symbolizes the moon’s cycles of change.

In lupine mythology, the lupus was originally a human being until he/she was transformed into a werewolf by being bitten by another werewolf. 

In this article, we’ll talk more about the luna wolf, her importance to the pack, as well as her role.

Role of the Luna Wolf in the Wolf Pack

The luna wolf plays a very important role in the pack, as this is the leading female wolf of the group. 

There’s only one couple in a wolf pack who’ll breed when breeding season comes around. This is the alpha couple: the alpha male and alpha female (luna wolf).

Wolves have somewhat different hierarchies for males and females, meaning, there’ll be both a male and female alpha, beta, and omega wolf.

The most important part of the role as an alpha female is the ability to reproduce. The luna wolf will give birth to cubs during mating season, though they might not do this every year. [1]

she wolf

What Does the Luna Wolf Do?

The luna wolf does a couple of different things in the pack:

  • She’ll be the one to breed, giving birth to new cubs.
  • The luna wolf will also be the main caretaker of new cubs, feeding, grooming, and teaching them.
  • The luna wolf is the dominant female, keeping the other females in check.
  • The alpha female will also join in on hunting trips.

The alpha female is very important to the pack.

Wolves typically mate for life, as they form a mating pair. Alpha females are closely connected to their mates. If the alpha male were to die, the alpha female often drops in rank.

This is due to a new wolf taking the spot as the alpha male, but also because the female will be distressed, often not able to fulfill her role.

Hence, when the alpha male dies, a new alpha female is also found.

wolf-hunting-in-the-forest

How Many Luna Wolves Are There in a Pack?

There’s only one luna wolf in a pack. There can’t be more than one, as this would ruin the well-established pack structure wolves have.

This ensures that there’s only one female breeding each season.

During mating and breeding season, the alpha couple will often be more aggressive and dominant, as they assert their authority and dominance over the other wolves.

This is again done to make sure, that no one challenges their status and rank.

Alpha females are often “chosen” by the alpha male. The alpha male will seek a suiting mate – yet the female will also have to choose him.

wolf-pack-walking-in-winter-landscape

What Does Luna Mean?

The word “Luna” is Latin for “moon” (and in other languages with Latin roots like Spanish or Italian). Luna, also referred to as Diana, was the moon goddess in ancient Roman mythology.

Luna is typically depicted as a feminine word and is also used as a girl’s name (and sometimes a boy’s name).

Luna wolves are often thought to be white and glow during the nighttime hours which gives them their name luna, meaning moon. This is not correct.

According to mythology, luna wolves can take solid form whenever they want.

What Is an Alpha Female?

An alpha female wolf is the lupine equivalent of the ‘leader’ in a wolf pack. Alpha wolves are the ones in charge. The other wolves in the pack respect and are submissive to them.

Female luna wolves are dominant over all others in the pack. Other female wolves within the pack will follow her, as well as help her care for her cubs. 

The alpha female will also eat first, along with the alpha male.

If the alpha female has recently given birth, she’ll stay home instead of hunting. She’ll look after the wolf cubs, waiting for the hunting party to return.

Once the alpha male returns with food, they’ll greet, whereafter the male will hand the food to the female. She’ll then feed the cubs with whatever prey the alpha male hunted down.

Related: Female Wolf

arctic-wolf eating

Why Are They Called “Luna Wolf”?

Luna wolves are called this because of the connection between luna and feminity. Luna is Latin for “moon”, often interpreted as a female in relation to nature.

This caused people to start calling an alpha female wolf a luna wolf.

Why this started, no one knows. There are different theories, such as a connection between the dominant nature of luna wolves and the lunar goddess of Roman mythology.

Others talk about how werewolves would change form during a full moon.

Another theory connects the reproduction of luna wolves and the symbolism of the moon. The moon represents the rhythm of time, the cycle of life. As the alpha female is the only one to breed, this could be why she’s called a luna wolf.

Role of the Female Wolf

Female wolves have different roles in the pack depending on their rank. In a wolfpack there are 4 ranks for females (and males):

  • Alpha female
  • Beta female
  • Mid-ranking females
  • Omega female

The alpha female is the leader, or “Queen”, of the wolf family. As discussed, she’ll eat first, breed, and generally dominate the other wolves.

The female beta wolf is the second in command. She’ll assist the female, as well as keep the rest of the pack in line (along with the male beta) when the alphas are away from the pack.

The mid-ranking wolves are the ones without specific ranks. These can be elderly wolves, young adult wolves, or others. They’ll help the alpha female care for cubs, as well as hunt for prey.

Lastly, we have the omega wolf. These are the “bottom-feeders”, meaning, they’re at the bottom of the hierarchy. They eat last and usually keep out of the way.

Related: Wolf Pack Ranks

pack of wolves

Conclusion

Luna wolf is another term for the alpha female. The luna wolf is one part of the alpha couple, the ones in charge of the pack. They’re the leaders, dominating the rest of the wolves.

The most important job of the luna wolf is to reproduce. Only the alpha couple will breed, while the rest of the female wolves will help care for the cubs, assisting the alpha female.

Where the name “Luna wolf” comes from is not known. The word luna means “moon” in Latin. The moon is a feminine symbol, also representing the ​​rythm of time. As the alpha female is the only one to breed, this may be an explanation.

About Dennis Stapleton

Dennis Stapleton has a passion for animals, especially dogs, and their relatives. He’s intrigued by their social structure and loves to write and teach about the world's most popular pet animal.

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