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Alphabetical List of Critters - Gypsy Moth

The Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar), introduced accidentally in 1868/1869 into Massachusetts from Europe, is a major pest of hardwood trees in the eastern U.S. and in bordering areas of eastern Canada.  Gypsy moth caterpillars feed on most hardwood trees, except ash. They prefer oak, poplar, gray birch and fruit trees.  When half grown or larger, the larvae are also likely to feed on evergreens.  As the number of gypsy moth larvae in an area increases, their favorite food sources become depleted.  The larvae are then likely to feed on other ornamental trees and shrubs.

Late-stage caterpillars are hairy, dark and easily distinguished by five pairs of blue spots on the front body segments and six pairs of red spots on the back body segments.  Fully grown larvae are 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 inches long.  About 70 percent of their food is consumed during this stage of development; they are able to strip a tree overnight.  Female gypsy moths cannot fly.  Consequently, after mating, they do not move far from their pupation site to lay their 500 or more eggs.

 

Detailed Fact Sheets:

Image Description: mature gypsy moth caterpillar

Image Description: a Gypsy Moth caterpillar

Image Description: a female gypsy moth with an egg mass under her

Image Description: collage of three photos showing a gypsy moth caterpillar, and two images showing the moth stage

Image Description: GypsyMothFemale-labeled

Image Description: GypsyMothMale-labeled

Image Description: Gypsy Moth egg mass

Image Description: Gypsy Moth Egg Mass Removal

Image Description: pair of gypsy moth pupae

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University of Maine Cooperative Extension


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Home and Garden IPM from Cooperative Extension
491 College Avenue
Orono, ME 04469-5741
Phone: 207.581.3880 or 1.800.287.0279 (in Maine)E-mail: james.dill@maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1865