Identify It > Moth Section > Gypsy Moths >
Scientific name: Lymantria dispar
Size: Wingspan up to 70mm
Distribution: Found in Jersey, sometimes seen on Guernsey and immigrants from the continent are occasionally seen in England - especially in the south
Months seen: July to September
Habitat: Fenland, but may also be spotted in parks, gardens and woodland
Food: Nectar. The twig-like caterpillars feed on willow, bog myrtle and various deciduous trees
Special features: Gypsy moths were once resident in the UK but died out in the early 1900's. This was probably due to loss of habitat when fenlands were drained. We still sometimes see immigrant Gypsy Moths coming from mainland Europe where they are still fairly common.
The greyish coloured caterpillars can grow to 70mm in length. The front half of the caterpillar has a double row of blue-grey colored spots along the back, while the rear half has a double row of red spots. There are also some pale brown hairs which can cause skin irritation if they are handled. The caterpillars can becone a pest to forestry, and for this reason they are controlled when discovered.