USDA Forest Service

Gypsy Moth In North America


Res. Work Unit NE-4557
180 Canfield ST.
Morgantown, WV 26505

(304) 285-1503

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

Evaluate Our Service
We welcome your comments on our service and your suggestions for improvement.
Logo of New Century of Service

Gypsy Moth Around the World

The gypsy moth is naitive to most of temperate Europe and Asia (natural range is shown in green). The species has only existed in North America for about 120 years. It's range in North America (shown in blue) includes all of the northeastern US and portions of the southeast and midwest, as well as portions of eastern Canada. It's distribution in Michigan and parts of Ontario is the result of an accidental introduction to Michigan in the early 1960's and a failure of attempts to eradicate this population.

Gypsy moth populations in Europe and Asia are known to be genetically more variable than are North American populations. For example, female gypsy moths in Europe (west of the Ural Mtns.), as well as North American populations, are unable to fly. However, Asian populations are mostly capable of flight.

Most of the gypsy moths in North America are of European origin. However in recent years, there have been several accidental introductions of Asian populations to North America and Europe. These individuals appear to mate freely with the European strain. Because these Females are capable of flight, there is considerable concern that Asian gypsy moth could very quickly spread through North America. Because of this concern, considerable resources have been applied to eradicating these new infestations. For the latest information about these new infestations, see the Asian gypsy moth page provided by USDA APHIS NAPIS.

Information about the Gypsy Moth outside of N. America

While some alien species are not problems in their native distribution, the gypsy moth does not follow this pattern. It is considered a significant range over much of its native range. Here is a list of some countries where it is considered a problem and links.

Northern Africa


Central Asia

East Asia

Names for the Gypsy Moth in other languages

  • German: "Schwammspinner"
  • Danish : "LÝVstraesnonne"
  • Spanish / Portuguese : "Lagarta peluda"
  • France : "Bombyx disparate", "Spongieuse", "Zig-zag"
  • Hungary : "Erdei gyapjaslepke"
  • Italian : "Limantria"
  • Roumanian : "Gubar"
  • Slovakia : "Mniska velíkohlava" (nun with a big head)
  • Japanese: "Maimai-ga" (dancing moth)
  • Russian : "Neparniyy shelkopriyad" (dispar silkworm)

Return to Gypsy Moth in NA

Last modified 10-29-03 by Sandy Liebhold .

USDA Forest Service - Northeastern Research Station

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.