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Bug experts seeking new name for destructive gypsy moths

Bugged Moth Name
Posted at 4:25 PM, Jul 13, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-13 16:25:48-04

U.S. bug experts are dropping the name gypsy moth because it is considered an ethnic slur.

They are doing the same for gypsy ants.

The announcement is the first time the Entomological Society of America is changing a common name of an insect because it is derogatory. It may not be the last.

The society president says the name for the destructive moth is offensive to the Romani people.

"We want everybody to feel welcome in the entomological community and so, if we're using nomenclature that makes people feel excluded or marginalized or contributes to that in any way, there's no reason to continue to use it," ESA President Michelle Smith said.

As a caterpillar, the invasive and voracious moth denudes entire forests of leaves.

Until a new name is decided, experts will call it Lymantria dispar, its scientific name.

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