USDA Forest Service

Gypsy Moth In North America


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180 Canfield ST.
Morgantown, WV 26505

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United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

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Gypsy Moth Natural Enemies - Vertebrates

When gysy moth populations are low, predation by small mammals is the largest source of mortality. The most common predators are deer mice, Peromyscus spp. and shrews, Sorex spp. These animals predate on late instar larvae and pupae. Data indicates that when small mammal populations are low, this may function to "release" populations and outbreaks may result. Predation may also be affected by the availability of alternate prey items. Small mammals are generalist predators and gypsy moths make up a small component of their diet. There is no evidence that gypsy moth abundance affects small mammal abundance. There is evidence that the abundance of mast (e.g. acorns) affects small mammal abundance and this may be part of a complex relationship between mast dynamics and gypsy moth dynamics.

Predation on gypsy moth life stages by birds generally appears low. The presence of extensive amounts of hair on body of the larva apparently makes them an undesirable food item for birds.

White-footed mouse, Peromyscus leucopus.
Black-billed cuckoo, Coccyzus erythropthalmus. Smokey shrew, Sorex fumeus.

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Last modified 10-29-03 by Sandy Liebhold .

USDA Forest Service - Northeastern Research Station

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