Leopard Moth

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Leopard Moth

 

(Zeuzera pyrina), a moth of the family Cossidae. The wings of the female spread to 55-70 mm (the male is somewhat smaller) and are satiny white with angular dark-blue spots. The leopard moth is found in southern and Central Europe, northern Africa, Asia Minor, and North America; in the USSR it occurs in the southern European part and in the Far East. The moth damages more than 70 varieties of deciduous trees (it prefers ash and apple trees).

Generation takes place in large forest tracts over a period of two years; the flying years are clearly defined. The female deposits groups of eggs in crevices in tree bark, in leaf scars, or other similar places. After hatching, the caterpillars descend on webs and are carried by the wind to the crown of trees; at first they sew themselves into leaf petioles and then into the shoots, where they hibernate. The following year they migrate inside the branches and trunk. They pupate during the summer after the second hibernation. Leopard moth infestation causes the trees to weaken and dry out, and the wood loses its marketable qualities.

Measures of protection against leopard moths include scientific felling and improvement cutting (in the flight years), removing and destroying shoots inhabited by the young caterpillars, and treating the trees with insecticides.

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