(WFRV) – In an attempt to stop using a name deemed derogatory, the “gypsy moth” is no more and officials have determined a new name for the insect.
The Entomological Society of America (ESA) announced that the new name, “spongy moth,” has been selected for the species Lymantria dispar. It was voted unanimously to approve the addition of spongy moth to ESA’s common names of insects and related organisms list.
This completes a process that reportedly started back in July 2021. “Gypsy moth” was removed from the list at the time because of its use of the derogatory term for the Romani people, the ESA explains.
Now that spongy moth is added to the list, it will now be used in articles, scientific journals, presentations, posters, websites, social media and public policy documents.
“Lymantria dispar is a damaging pest in North American forests, and public awareness is critical in slowing its spread. ‘Spongy moth’ gives entomologists and foresters a name for this species that reinforces an important feature of the moth’s biology and moves away from the out-dated term that was previously used,” says ESA President Jessica Ware, Ph.D.
The spongy moth name was recommended by a group that had over 50 scientists and professionals who work in research or forest management settings. The name refers to the moth’s sponge-like egg masses.
According to the ESA, the spongy moth is an invasive species that can defoliate hundreds of trees and shrubs throughout the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.