The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) supports The Entomological Society of America's (ESA) initiative to replace the common name for L. dispar and participated in the effort to identify a new common name for this pest. APHIS continues to support ESA’s work on the “Better Common Names Project.” To prevent its spread, APHIS regulates the European gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar dispar) that is found in the Northeastern United States. While we support ESA’s initiative, we face a significant challenge in implementing the name change at this time because of a related pest of concern: the Asian gypsy moth.
To align with ESA’s initiative and to ensure the effectiveness of our regulatory program, APHIS is exploring options for addressing the naming challenge for the Asian gypsy moth. To do this, APHIS will work with its international partners to explore options. This is critical before APHIS can implement the name change for the European gypsy moth to the newly announced common name “spongy moth.” Once a name change can be applied to the Asian gypsy moth, APHIS will begin to incorporate the new common names into our regulatory language and outreach products.