Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Collecting Gypsy Moth larvae

I have been to the south end of Grand Lake recently collecting Gypsy Moth larvae in an oak stand for a Canadian Forest Service study. The critters have increased in numbers a bit this season because of a milder winter. A close look at the older larvae reveals some striking red and blue spots, but the younger ones look more orange (bottom image). The image at top shows caterpillars massed on an oak trunk; the pale mass near the bottom is an egg mass.

The next image shows a larva killed by a naturally occurring fungus, which in a small way helps to limit the population. A close look will reveal many tiny fungal fruiting bodies.

The third image shows a mature larva actively munching away on an oak leaf.

The Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar) is in the family LYMANTRIIDAE (Tussock Moths) of the Order LEPIDOPTERA (Moths and Butterflies).

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