Invasive Species — Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)

Species Affected

At low densities, this species causes no discernible damage. However, during outbreaks, larval feeding may completely defoliate host trees and cause the host trees to die. Outbreaks can last between 1-5 years. The species diversity of native animals (mammals, birds, and insects) can be altered during outbreaks due to a reduction in shelter and food from changes to the forest. Mammals and birds can prey on adult moths, but generally do not control larvae populations because the lavae have thick, protective hairs on their bodies for defense.