gypsy moth

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gypsy moth,

common name for a moth, Lymantria dispar, of the tussock moth family, native to Europe and Asia. Its caterpillars, or larvae, defoliate deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. Introduced from Europe into Massachusetts c.1869, the European gypsy moth became a serious pest within 20 years. Asian gypsy moths were introduced to the Northwest by Russian ships in 1991 and to North Carolina by a ship returning from Germany in 1993.

Adult gypsy moths have hairy bodies. Females, with a wingspread of about 2 in. (5 cm), or 3.5 in. (8.9 cm) in the Asian variety, are white with dark lines on the wings; the smaller males are gray. The female covers the egg mass with body hair and scales. The larvae emerge in the spring; their blackish bodies have yellow stripes and rows of blue or red tubercles bearing tufts of hair. When full grown they are about 2 in. long. Pupation (see insectinsect,
invertebrate animal of the class Insecta of the phylum Arthropoda. Like other arthropods, an insect has a hard outer covering, or exoskeleton, a segmented body, and jointed legs. Adult insects typically have wings and are the only flying invertebrates.
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) lasts about two weeks, and the adults emerge from the cocoon in midsummer.

European gypsy moth females do not fly; dispersal occurs chiefly in the egg and larval stages as the caterpillars are blown by the wind or transported on vehicles. Females of the Asian variety and hybrids do fly. In North America the European gypsy moth has spread through the NE United States and adjacent parts of Canada, west to Wisconsin and south to North Carolina. The Asian variety has begun to damage areas of the Pacific Northwest. Gypsy moths defoliate millions of acres of trees in the United States yearly; repeated infestations weaken and kill the trees. A variety of measures have been used to check their spread, including the implementation of stringent quarantine measures and aerial application of pesticides such as Bacillus thuringiensis and diflubenzuron (Dimilin).

The gypsy moth is classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, class Insecta, order Lepidoptera, family Liparidae.

Gypsy Moth


(Ocneria [Porthetria or Lymantria] dispar), a moth of the family Lymantriidae; a dangerous pest of many trees. The male and female differ sharply in size and color, as well as in the structure of the antennae. The females have a wingspread of up to 9 cm; the wings are gray-white or yellow-white; males have a wingspread of up to 5 cm; the anterior wings are brownish gray, and the posterior wings brown.

The gypsy moth is distributed throughout most of Europe, in northern Africa, in the temperate latitudes of Asia, and in North America. In the USSR it is found in the European part and in the southern regions of the Asian part. The gypsy moth has one generation per year. It was imported into North America in the second half of the 19th century and soon began massive reproduction.

Gypsy moths usually begin to fly in July or August (in southern regions, in June). They do not feed but immediately mate and lay eggs (most often on the root parts of tree trunks; less frequently, on branches or on the bare roots of trees; sometimes on rocks). After 20 to 25 days, the formation of caterpillars within the eggs is almost complete; the caterpillars remain in the eggs for the winter, emerging in the spring of the following year.

The caterpillars of gypsy moths damage more than 300 plant species, particularly oaks, hornbeams, fruit trees, poplars, birch, linden, and willow. In periods of massive reproduction the caterpillars almost completely defoliate trees and are often forced to transfer to herbaceous plants, damaging cereal grains and even vegetable crops. Tree growth is retarded and fruit production is decreased. When there is repeated damage, apical dryness and complete desiccation are observed.

Control measures include scraping and burning egg deposits, treating egg deposits with mineral oils, applying rings of caterpillar glue to the trunks of trees, and treating the plants with insecticides.


gypsy moth

[′jip·sē ¦mȯth]
(invertebrate zoology)
Porthetria dispar. A large lepidopteran insect of the family Lymantriidae that was accidentally imported into New England from Europe in the late 19th century; larvae are economically important as pests of deciduous trees.
References in periodicals archive ?
The researchers looked at survival rates of the bacteria over several generations of caterpillars and found that urease-producing phenotypes survived better when repeatedly fed to gypsy moths.
Keywords: Gypsy moth, pheromone flakes, mating disruption
Since 1981, an estimated 38 million hectares of forest in North America have been defoliated by the gypsy moth.
There are different rules for movement between areas with established populations of gypsy moths and those without.
Only a small number of gypsy moths was introduced to North America initially, and populations have low genetic variation (Harrison et al.
The gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) has infested approximately 25% of the nation's hardwood forests and is steadily moving S and W (Gottschalk, 1991).
Data were collected using a telephone-mail-telephone survey conducted in January-March 1991 in a ten-county area of Pennsylvania and Maryland with five to fifteen years experience with gypsy moths.
This virus, nucleopolyhedrosis (NPV), is very effective against gypsy moths and perhaps the safest insecticide developed for any insect.
The good news is that we came back after the Eugene eradication program, trapped intensively, and caught no gypsy moths," Helmuth Rogg, state Department of Agriculture pest manager, said in a news release.
But for now the county is waiting to see whether more gypsy moths turn up in the traps.
Because defoliation can affect oak tannin levels, and because oak tannin levels can affect virus transmission, the effect of gypsy moth defoliation on virus transmission has been cited as evidence for a tritrophic interaction among gypsy moths, oaks, and virus (Schultz and Keating 1991).
schineri is the third most successful insect parasite of Korea's gypsy moths, according to an exacting, 5-year study by Pemberton, Lee, and co-investigators David K.