Main: (Erebidae / Lymantriinae)
72.011 [B&F: 2034] Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) (Linnaeus, 1758)


Formerly frequent in the fens of East Anglia, this moth was presumed extinct in Britain in the early 1900s when breeding sites were cleared and drained. Occasional records, mainly from coastal southern England, since then have been regarded as immigrants. However, in the 21st century it has become temporarily established in a very few areas, these all thought to be accidental introductions by the horticultural trade. In Hampshire there has been a pattern of increased occurrence in the 21st Century, possibly related to radiation from the introduced colonies in London, and breeding was first evidenced in 2019 when larval webs were discovered in Basingstoke. It is also probably resident in the Portsmouth area. Wingspan male 48-53 mm, female 59-65 mm. The male has prominent crescent-shaped black reniform mark and black orbicular spot; the female is superficially similar to female Black Arches - but the latter species is smaller with the female Gypsy Moth having a thickset and blunt abdomen - and cannot fly, rarely travelling far from the cocoon and thus any occurrence in Britain of a female moth is clear evidence of local breeding.
The extinct English race fed on Bog-myrtle (Myrica gale) and Creeping Willow (Salix repens). On mainland Europe occurs in a wide variety of habitats feeding on broadleaved trees and bushes.

Update: Text update and status review, December 2019.

Flightime guide

Records Received By Year

% of total records
Max records: 20
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Percentage of Total Records

Total records
Max Percentage: 0.016668888
00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

Phenology - Adult Records

Max records: 11
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Phenology - Larval Records

Max records: 2
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Distribution Map

Historical distribution at tetrad resolution
Click for density map

Record Density

As above but the larger the symbol, the greater the number of records
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