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Offensive name changed for invasive moth species

Bugged Moth Name
Posted at 1:01 PM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 14:01:51-05

The "gypsy moth" is no more. The Entomological Society of America announced Wednesday that the moth species Lymantria dispar will now be officially known as "spongy moth."

In July 2021, the Entomological Society of America announced it was dropping the common name of the destructive insect.

The ESA Governing Board voted unanimously last week to approve the addition of "spongy moth" to ESA's Common Names of Insects and Related Organisms List, saying the previous name was removed in July due to its use of a derogatory term for the Romani people. The ESA said the change is the first undertaken by the society's Better Common Names Project.

The ESA said the moth's new name — derived from the common name used in France and French-speaking Canada, "spongieuse" — refers to the moth's sponge-like egg masses.

ESA said the name "spongy moth" will now be adopted for use in articles published in ESA's scientific journals and in presentations and posters at ESA conferences, as well as in ESA's website, social media and public policy documents.

The spongy moth is an invasive species in North American forests and can cause damage to trees and shrubs. The ESA said the moth costs hundreds of millions of dollars each year in damage and prevention and control efforts.

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