Invasive gypsy moth

Title Info
Common name Moth, Gypsy
Scientific name Lymantria dispar
Taxonomic group Lymantriidae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Human impacts Invasive species
Change over time Life cycles
Organisms Animals
Animals Insects
Conservation Invasive species
Lessons Invasive species
Date July 19, 2004
Location Newton,Massachusetts,USA,North America

Gypsy Moth female, laying eggs, Massachusetts. The notorious gypsy moth was imported to the US in 1869 by an amateur entomologist who hoped to establish a silk industry. The experiment failed, the caterpillars got loose, and so began a century-plus war against these pillaging invasives. The caterpillars eat a wide variety of tree leaves including those of oaks, birches, and willows. During really bad outbreaks, such as in 1981, they can denude entire forests so that in June they look as leafless as in a typical November. They continue to spread through the northeast US at about 10-15 miles (15-20 km) per year.