USDA Forest Service

Gypsy Moth In North America


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Gypsy Moth Life Cycle

First instar larvae (caterpillars) hatch in the spring from eggs laid the previous summer.

Newly hatched larvae hang by silken threads, are caught by the wind, and thereby disperse to other trees in the forest.

Small larvae begin feeding on newly expanded leaves.

Larvae go through 5 to 6 larval stages (instars). Between stages they molt by shedding their skin.

Larvae feed during the night and rest in bark crevices during the day (except at high densities, feeding occurs all day).

Pupation occurs about 8 weeks after egg hatch. Pupae are usually located in bark crevices or other cyrptic locations.

The male moth has plumose antennae to detect the sex pheromone emitted by the female.

After mating, the female lays eggs in a single mass covered with hairs from the abdomen. Most egg masses are located on tree trunks. The winter is spent in the egg stage.

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Last modified 10-29-03 by Sandy Liebhold .

USDA Forest Service - Northeastern Research Station
Last Modified: 10-29-2003T

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