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Digital Guide to Moth Identification

Genitalia Images
99046119461Lymantria dispar – Gypsy Moth – (Linnaeus, 1758)

Stephen Cresswell
Distribution: Europe, parts of the Middle East, Corsica, Sardinia, North Africa (1)
Seasonality
and Size:
L. d. dispar forewing length ranges 14.5-22mm in males and 20-30mm in females.
L. d. asiatica forewing length ranges 23-28 in males and 28-41mm in females.
L. d. japonica forewing length ranges 25-32 in males and 34-41mm in females.
Larva and
Host Plants:
Highly polyphagous. Throughout it?s native and invasive range, L. dispar dispar, Quercus spp. (Fagaceae) is the ?most preferred food plant group, followed by Salix (Salicaceae) and Crataegus (Rosaceae)(1). Preferred food plants considered characteristic of L. d. japonica, in Japan, include Diospyros kaki (Ebenaceae), Rhododendron sp (Ericaceae), Wisteria floribunda (Leguminosae) and Zelkova serrata (Ulmaceae)(1). A dominant food plant of L. d. asiatica in its native range is Siberian larch (Pinaceae: Larix sibirica) (1).

However, in all areas within the range of L. dispar sensu lato (which includes Japan), many species of Quercus are preferred.

in general, larvae have been found on most shrubs and trees, with preference for oaks, birch, alder, poplar, willow, sumac, basswood, larch, apple, hawthorn, shadbush, mountain ash, rose, box-elder, hazelnut, and witch hazel (1). Later instarts are less particular, feeding on chestnut, beech, pine, hemlock, and spruce (1). Pogue and Schaefer (2007) expand on this in detail.

Pogue and Schaefer (2007) describe a difference in the area between the D verrucae on the abdomens of larval L. dispar dispar and L. d. asiatica follows:
     - L. d. dispar prominent white pattern on less evident solid color. ?The small D1 verruca has a black primary seta?.
     - L. d. asiatica white pattern less evident and solid color prominent. The small D1 verruca has a white primary seta. Furthermore, there is a pair of ?irregularly shaped white spots with gray centers along the anterior margin of the abdominal segments 1-7. These spots are absent in L. d. dispar?.

Similar Species: Males of L. d. dispar differ from L. d. asiatica in the forewing ground color, which is lighter or darker brown in L. d. asiatica, and with a ?grayish cast to the light brown ground color? in L. d. dispar(1).

Females of L. d. asiatica have a more prominent postmedial band than in L. d. dispar (1).

Males of L. d. japonica are nearly indistinguishable from L. d. dispar and L. d. asiatica, however L. d. japonica has a larger forewing length in both sexes than L. d. dispar(1). Wings of female L. d. japonica are with a distinctive brown cast, whereas they are white in both L. d. dispar and L. d. asiatica.

Genitalia are not reliable at distinguishing any of the three subspecies.
Taxonomic Notes: Three subspecies of L. dispar are recognized due to their economic importance (1), these include L. d. dispar, L. d. asiatica Vnukovskij, and L. d. japonica (Motschulsky).
References
  • (1) Pogue, M.G., and Schaefer, P.W. (2007). A review of selected species of Lymantria Hubner [1819] including three new species (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae: Lymantriinae) from subtropical and temperate regions of Asia, some potentially invasive to North America. Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team.
Data compiled and contributed by Christi Jaeger, MEM from references cited.

Lymantria dispar
Bob Patterson
Lymantria dispar
Tom Murray
Lymantria dispar
Bob Moul
Lymantria dispar
ssp. asiatica – Christi Jaeger
Lymantria dispar
ssp. japonica – Christi Jaeger
Lymantria dispar
- 40mm – Jim Vargo
Lymantria dispar
Canadian National Collection LG

Lymantria dispar
Canadian National Collection LG

Lymantria dispar
Canadian National Collection LG

Lymantria dispar
Jason Dombroskie

Lymantria dispar
Seth Ausubel LG

Lymantria dispar
Nolie Schneider

Lymantria dispar
Nolie Schneider

Lymantria dispar
Jason Dombroskie

Lymantria dispar
Jason Dombroskie
pupae

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