Lymantria mathura (pink gypsy moth)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Wood Packaging
- Environmental Impact
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Lymantria mathura Moore
Preferred Common Name
- pink gypsy moth
International Common Names
- English: rosy gypsy moth; russian gypsy moth; sal defoliator
- Spanish: polilla rosada
- French: spongieuse rose
- LYMAMA (Lymantria mathura)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Erebidae
- Subfamily: Lymantriinae
- Genus: Lymantria
- Species: Lymantria mathura
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page Moore described L. mathura in 1865. Two Far Eastern subspecies are recognized: Lymantria mathura subpallida from Taiwan and Lymantria mathura aurora from Japan, Korea and Russia.
DescriptionTop of page Eggs
The eggs are deposited in masses of about 200 eggs each, usually in bark crevices. The egg masses are pale-yellow when first laid and darken after approximately 2 weeks.
The larvae are stout bodied, ashy-grey-brown, with transverse yellow bands on the thorax. The entire body is covered with prominent bristles. They have one pair of anterior and two pairs of posterior hair pencils or long hair tufts. The larvae are approximately 3.4 mm long when first hatched, the second-instars are 5.8 mm long, the third-instars are 2 cm long and the fourth-instars are 3 cm long. When the third-instar stage is reached, the female larvae are significantly larger and faster growing than the males. The mature male larvae are approximately 4.2 cm long and the females are approximately 6 cm long (Mohn, 2001).
The pupae are stout and medium-brown. The male pupae are on average 2 cm long and the female pupae are on average 3 cm long. The first abdominal segment has a pair of clusters of short white hairs (Mohn, 2001).
The adults are moderately sized, hairy and heavy bodied. The females are larger than the males and have a thick anal-tuft of scale hairs. The final three abdominal segments of the female are extended. The ovipositor is slightly elongated. The forewings of the males are beige with dark-brown markings and the hind wings are yellow and bear a distinct dark spot. The forewings of the females are less distinctly marked than the males and the hind wings have a pinkish or rosy appearance. The hind wings of the females also bear a dark spot. The female body is beige with pink or rosy areas on the anterior abdominal segments. The wingspan is an average of 46 mm for the males and 84 mm for the females (Pucat and Walter, 1997; Mohn, 2001).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Widespread||Native||Invasive||Odell et al., 1992; Mohn, 2001; EPPO, 2014|
|-Heilongjiang||Widespread||Native||Invasive||Odell et al., 1992; EPPO, 2014|
|-Hong Kong||Widespread||Native||Invasive||Mohn, 2001|
|India||Widespread||Native||Invasive||Browne, 1968; Dey and Tiwari, 1997; EPPO, 2014|
|Korea, DPR||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Native||Invasive||Lee and Lee, 1996; EPPO, 2014|
|Taiwan||Present||Native||Invasive||Pucat and Watler, 1997|
|USA||Absent, intercepted only||Introduced||Baranchikov et al., 1995|
|Russian Federation||Restricted distribution||EPPO, 2014|
|-Russian Far East||Widespread||Native||Invasive||Gninenko, 2000; Gninenko, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|-Siberia||Widespread||Native||Invasive||Zolotarenko & Dubatolov, 1998|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page Both male and female moths of L. mathura are capable of flight. Although the flight habits of this insect are not known, they can undoubtedly fly at least 1 km in search of a suitable oviposition site. They can also move on air currents. The larvae are capable of ballooning. Dispersal rates for the larvae of L. mathura exceed those of the Asian and North American Lymantria dispar. The neonates of L. mathura weigh less and have a slower settling velocity than the Asian or North American populations of L. dispar, which allow them to be dispersed by the wind over greater distances (Zlotina et al., 1999).
L. mathura deposits eggs in sheltered locations that lend themselves to human-assisted means of transport (Zlotina et al., 1999). The eggs can be deposited on the stems of nursery trees, logs, forest products, sea containers and ships (Pucat and Walter, 1997). They have been detected on ships and shipping containers from Russia, in ports in the Pacific north-west of North America (Baranchikov et al., 1995).
Another potential means of entry of the life stages of L. mathura and other Lymantriidae is in imported used vehicles. In a study conducted from September 2000 to June 2002, 152 lymantriid interceptions (primarily the Asian form of L. dispar) were made at New Zealand ports of entry. All but one of these interceptions were from used vehicles imported from Japan. Egg masses were the most commonly intercepted life stage, although small numbers of larvae, pupae and adults were also detected (Armstrong et al., 2003).
To assess the potential hazard of the introduction and establishment of L. mathura in North America, the survival and development of first-instar larvae on 24 broad-leaf and conifer tree species from North America, Europe and Asia were studied. L. mathura performed well on hosts in the family Fagaceae, regardless of the species' geographic ranges. The survival on European beech, Fagus sylvatica and American beech, Fagus grandifolia, was equivalent to the survival on Chinese cork oak, Quercus variabilis. The performance of the larvae was also high on the North American oak species, Quercus alba (white oak) and Quercus prinus (chestnut oak). The suitability of other North American oaks, such as Quercus rubra (red oak), Quercus velutina (black oak) and Quercus palustris (pin oak), was intermediate and equivalent to the suitability of species from the families Juglandaceae, Betulaceae and Oleaceae. The survival was poor on hosts from Aceraceae and Pinaceae. This study suggests that L. mathura could easily adapt to new host trees, especially members of the family Fagaceae, if populations were to become established in a new location (Zlotina et al., 1998).
L. mathura should be considered as having a high phytosanitary risk. Characteristics that contribute to a high risk of introduction, establishment and spread include:
- A wide host range, giving it the ability to adapt to new hosts.
- The ability to survive under a wide range of climatic conditions.
- Its habit of unselective deposition of egg masses during outbreaks.
- The ability of the first-instar larvae to be spread by air currents.
- The ability of both the male and female adults to fly and disperse.
Moreover, the closely related L. dispar has an established record of causing severe damage to forests in areas where it has been introduced.
HabitatTop of page L. mathura occurs in mature broad-leaf forests that grow under a wide range of climatic conditions, including subtropical and tropical forests in Bangladesh and India, and temperate and boreal forests in China, Japan, Korea and the Russian Far East.
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page The larvae of L. mathura can feed on 13 to 20 families of broad-leaf trees. These include the Fagaceae (oaks and beeches), Salicaceae (willows), Rosaceae (apples, pears and cherries), Betulaceae (birches), Juglandaceae (hickories and walnuts), Oleaceae (ashes) and a number of tropical families of trees (Baranchikov et al., 1995; Dey and Tiwari, 1997; Zlotina et al., 1998).
L. mathura larvae can also survive on conifer foliage. The larvae that were reared on plants of the family Pinaceae, including the genera Abies (true fir), Pinus (pine) and Larix (larch), displayed less than 13% survivorship. However, larvae reared on Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) averaged 33% survivorship (Zlotina et al., 1998).
The early-instar larvae often feed on flowers of host plants including mango (Mangifera indica) and lychee (Litchi chinensis) (Mohn, 2001).
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Castanea mollissima (hairy chestnut)||Fagaceae||Main|
|Liquidambar formosana (beautiful sweetgum)||Hamamelidaceae||Main|
|Litchi chinensis (lichi)||Sapindaceae||Main|
|Mangifera indica (mango)||Anacardiaceae||Main|
|Neolamarckia cadamba (common bur-flower tree)||Rubiaceae||Main|
|Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir)||Pinaceae||Other|
|Quercus leucotrichophora (banj oak)||Fagaceae||Main|
|Quercus mongolica (Mongolian oak)||Fagaceae||Main|
|Quercus serrata (glandbearing oak)||Fagaceae||Main|
|Shorea robusta (sal)||Dipterocarpaceae||Main|
|Syzygium cumini (black plum)||Myrtaceae||Main|
|Terminalia arjuna (arjun)||Combretaceae||Main|
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page Symptoms of attack include the defoliation of flowers and leaves of host plants (Pucat and Watler, 1997) and the presence of insect life stages. During outbreaks, the eggs are laid indiscriminately and could be found in a variety of places including sea containers and ships.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Inflorescence / external feeding|
|Inflorescence / frass visible|
|Inflorescence / webbing|
|Leaves / external feeding|
|Leaves / frass visible|
|Leaves / leaves rolled or folded|
|Leaves / shredding|
|Leaves / webbing|
|Whole plant / frass visible|
|Whole plant / plant dead; dieback|
Biology and EcologyTop of page Life History and Habits
The genus Lymantria consists of at least 17 species of broad-leaf- and conifer-defoliating insects, two of which are of major economic importance: the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar and the nun moth, Lymantria monacha. Most species are found on the Indian subcontinent. This genus is not represented among the native lymantriid fauna in North America, although L. dispar has been introduced and is now a major forest pest in areas of Canada and the USA (Browne, 1968).
The number of generations per year varies with location. L. mathura has one generation per year in Japan and Korea, two in India and possibly three in Hong Kong (Dey and Tiwari, 1997; Kendrick, 2002).
In Korea, the eggs hatch in late May and the larvae are active until late July. Adult emergence occurs from mid-August to mid-September. Oviposition occurs in the autumn, in the bark crevices of host trees. Oak bark is preferred for oviposition. The eggs are laid in masses with an average size of 258 eggs. The egg masses are covered with anal-tuft scales from the female moth. The choice of oviposition site is unselective during outbreaks (Lee and Lee, 1996; Dey and Tiwari, 1997; Pucat and Watler, 1997). The eggs are the overwintering stage (Lee and Lee, 1996).
In India, L. mathura has two generations per year. The larvae are active in April and again during the mid-summer monsoon season (June to July). Adult flight takes place in May and October. The eggs of the second generation overwinter.
The larvae tend to be gregarious (Browne, 1968) and have six instars. They are nocturnal and congregate at a low level on tree boles during the day (Dey and Tiwari, 1997). The early-instar larvae often prefer to feed on the flowers of host plants and later switch to the foliage. They can also injure the bark of young shoots (Browne, 1968). The larvae undergo unusual movements throughout the feeding cycle and these are referred to as a 'dance'. They hold on to a branch with their prolegs and repeatedly arch or bend both the head and tail segments until they touch. The reason for this behaviour is unclear but it could be a defensive response to natural enemies (Mohn, 2001).
Pupation typically occurs on the remaining foliage or branches of host trees or in the soil litter (Browne, 1968). When pupation takes place on the foliage or branches, the pupae are anchored by a few silken threads (Mohn, 2001).
Both the male and female adults are capable of flight (Wallner et al., 1995; Oliver et al., 1999). In the Russian Far East, peak adult flight occurs between 01.00 h and 03.00 h (Pucat and Walter, 1997).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Cytoplasmic polyhedrosis virus (CPV)||Parasite||Larvae|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page L. mathura populations are regulated by a variety of natural enemies. In Korea, Cotesia melanoscela and Brachymeria lasus are the major larval and pupal parasitoids, respectively. A total of nine parasitoids and two pathogens: a nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) and the fungus, Beauveria sp., have also been reported from Korea (Lee and Lee, 1996). Other parasites reported from L. mathura in Japan include Carcelia excavata [Carcelia gnava] and the nematode, Hexamermis sp. (Togashi, 1977; Schaefer and Ikebe, 1982).
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Bark||eggs; pupae||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx||larvae||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Leaves||larvae; pupae||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Seedlings/Micropropagated plants||eggs; larvae||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||eggs; larvae; pupae||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Wood||eggs||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
Wood PackagingTop of page
|Wood Packaging liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Timber type||Used as packing|
|Processed or treated wood||All types||No|
|Solid wood packing material with bark||Crates, pallets, dunnage||Yes|
|Solid wood packing material without bark||Crates, pallets, dunnage||Yes|
|Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Loose wood packing material|
ImpactTop of page L. mathura is an important forest defoliator within its geographic range and is capable of feeding on the foliage and flowers of a wide range of hosts. In India and Bangladesh, L. mathura is considered to be one of the principal defoliators of the saltree, Shorea robusta. Outbreaks in Russia are not well documented but can be extensive. Sometimes they are concurrent with those of Lymantria dispar. Little is known about the subsequent effects of L. mathura defoliation in forests (Baranchikov et al., 1995; Zlotina et al., 1998). However, growth loss, branch die-back and some tree mortality can be expected after 2 years or more of successive defoliation. In India, outbreaks are infrequent but extensive when they do occur. No significant tree mortality occurs after the defoliation of S. robusta, but tree vigour may be reduced and the susceptibility to attack from other insect species may increase (Dey and Tiwari, 1997).
Environmental ImpactTop of page Wildlife species that rely on beechnuts and acorns for food may be adversely affected. The impairment of tree health can make host species more susceptible to attack from other insect pest species (Dey and Tiwari, 1997). In addition, the introduction of this defoliator into other locations would undoubtedly result in the increased use of biological and/or chemical insecticides for eradication/suppression programmes and accompanying adverse effects on non-target organisms.
Detection and InspectionTop of page The bark crevices of oak logs and other host trees, on shipments arriving from Asian ports where L. mathura is known to occur, should be inspected for egg masses. L. mathura females deposit eggs indiscriminately during outbreaks, therefore it is also important to inspect lumber, crates, automobiles, sea containers and ships arriving from Asian ports in close proximity to known outbreak areas.
Plant materials, especially nursery stock, arriving from ports within the geographic range of L. mathura, should be inspected for the presence of egg masses and early-instar larvae. The branches of nursery stock could also harbour pupae.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page The pink or rosy highlights on the female moths of L. mathura make this lymantriid distinct and relatively easy to separate from adults of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar or the nun moth, Lymantria monacha. However, species identification of insects that are suspected to represent a recent introduction of L. mathura should be carried out by a taxonomist with expertise in the family Lymantriidae.
Prevention and ControlTop of page Cultural Control
In the Russian Far East, ship and port lighting are known to attract females of Lymantria dispar, Lymantria monacha and L. mathura. Reducing light in port areas during times of female flight activity can reduce the risk of egg masses being deposited on sea containers, other cargo and ships. Shipping companies and port operations are co-operating with the Russian Plant Quarantine Agency to reduce lighting based on flight periodicity data (USDA Forest Service, 2001).
Aerial applications of the bacterial insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis, have been applied to outbreak populations of L. mathura and L. dispar near the ports of Vostochny and Nakhodka, Russian Far East. Unfortunately these suppression efforts were not effective. Parasitoids known to attack L. mathura are potential candidates for classical biological control programmes, if this insect becomes established outside its geographic range.
In China, infestations of both L. dispar and L. mathura have been controlled in chestnut orchards by the application of pesticides to tree trunks (Zheng et al., 1994).
Based on coupled gas chromatography/electroantennogram detector responses and dose-response curves, the two compounds: (Z,Z,Z)-3,6,9-nonadecatriene and its monoepoxide, Z,Z-(9S,10R)-9,10-epoxy-3,6-nonadecadiene 4a, have been identified from abdominal tip extracts of L. mathura female moths. Only one of the monoepoxide enantiomers (S,R) was active, according to single cell recordings. In field tests in Russia, both the (S,R)-monoepoxide and the racemate were active (Oliver et al., 1999). Traps baited with these compounds could be used to 'trap-out' recently established populations of L. mathura.
Pheromone traps, baited with the attractant pheromone from L. mathura, can be used to determine the presence of populations in areas suspected of having recent introductions. Moreover, pheromone traps baited with the gypsy moth attractant, (+)-disparlure, are known to attract L. mathura males (Odell et al., 1992). Pheromone traps can also be used to establish adult flight periods near ports, within the insect's geographic range. In this way, night lighting may be lowered to reduce the risk of oviposition on shipping crates and other items destined for export (USDA Forest Service, 2001).
Light traps have been used in the forest and port areas of the Russian Far East to monitor adult flight, but have so far proven to be ineffective for this purpose (USDA Forest Service, 2001).
Field-sampling procedures to estimate L. mathura egg mass densities and predict defoliation, are being developed in the Russian Far East through a USDA Forest Service/Russian Federal Forest Service co-operative programme (USDA Forest Service, 2001).
Aerial and ground surveys can be used to detect infestations of L. mathura within its geographic range and assess the magnitude of outbreaks.
Integrated Pest Management
Approaches to the integrated pest management of L. mathura are similar to the closely related forest defoliators, L. dispar and L. monacha. However, the monitoring and direct control tactics for this insect still require some refinement. Within its geographic range, monitoring efforts should concentrate on the early detection of infestations using pheromone traps. When refined, egg mass surveys could be used to predict defoliation and population trends, and determine the need for direct control. Applications of B. thuringiensis against this insect have so far provided unacceptable results, whereas the improved formulations and application techniques offer opportunities for a better performance by this bacterium.
One of the major concerns with this insect is its potential to be introduced into new locations, become established and cause widespread damage, as L. dispar has. Therefore techniques designed to reduce this risk are key aspects of an integrated pest management system for L. mathura. Examples of viable pest management tactics include lowering the light intensity during adult flight periods at ports where this insect is native. This will reduce the hazard of egg mass deposition on ships and cargo. Also inspections for egg masses and other life stages on products destined for export should be carried out, pheromone traps should be used to monitor sites where there is a high risk of introduction and newly detected infestations should be promptly eradicated.
ReferencesTop of page
Aratake Y, Kayamura T, 1972. Cross transmission of polyhedrosis viruses of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar japonica Motschulsky, to the silkworm, Bombyx mori L., and other Lepidopterous insects. Proceedings of the Association for Plant Protection of Kyushu, 18:17-20.
Armstrong KF, McHugh P, Chinn W, Frampton ER, Walsh PJ, 2003. Tussock moth species arriving on imported used vehicles determined by DNA analysis. In: New Zealand Plant Protection Society Incorporated, eds. 56th Conference Proceedings of the New Zealand Plant Protection Society Incorporated.
Baranchikov Y, Vahivkova T, Montgomery M, 1995. Suitability of foreign tree species for Lymantria mathura Moore. In: Fosbroke SLC and Gottschalk KW, eds. Proceedings of the USDA Interagency Gypsy Moth Research Forum 1995. January 17-20, Annapolis, MD. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-213. Radnor, PA: USDA Forest Service, Northeast Forest Experimental Station, 1-133.
Browne FG, 1968. Pests and diseases of forest plantation trees: an annotated list of the principal species occurring in the British Commonwealth. Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Kendrick RC, 2002. Moths (Insecta: Lepidoptera) of Hong Kong. PhD thesis. Hong Kong: The University of Hong Kong.
Lee JH, Lee HP, 1996. Parasites and phenology of Lymantria mathura Moore (Lymantriidae: Lepidoptera) in Kyonggi Province, Korea. Korean Journal of Entomology, 26:393-401.
Mohn DL, 2001. Rosy gypsy moth (Lymantriidae Lymantria mathura - Moore, 1865). Light Creations. http:www.ccs-hk.org/DM/butterfly/Lymantriid/Lymantra-mathura.html.
Odell TM, Xu CH, Schaefer PW, Leonhardt BA, Yao DF, Wu XD, 1992. Capture of gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.), and Lymantria mathura (L.) males in traps baited with disparlure enantiomers and olefin precursor in the People's Republic of China. Journal of Chemical Ecology, 18(12):2153-2159
Oliver JE, Dickens JC, Zlotina M, Mastro VC, Yurchenko GI, 1999. Sex attractant of the rosy Russian gypsy moth (Lymantria mathura Moore). Zeitschrift fu^umlaut~r Naturforschung. Section C, Biosciences, 54(5/6):387-394; 28 ref.
Pucat AM, Watler DM, 1997. Lymantria mathura Moore: Rosy (pink) gypsy moth. Plant Health Risk Assessment Unit. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Science Branch, Canada. http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/ ppc/science/pps/datasheets/lymmate.shtml.
Schaefer PW, Ikebe K, 1982. Recovery of Hexamermis sp. (Nematoda: Mermithidae), parasitizing gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L.), in Hokkaido, Japan. Environmental Entomology, 11(3):675-680.
Shima H, 1996. A Tentative Catalogue of Host-Parasite Relationships of Japanese Tachinidae (Diptera). http://www.rc.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~shima/shima/host.html.
Togashi I, 1977. Tachinid flies (Diptera: Tachinidae) occurring in the chestnut orchards in Ishikawa Prefecture. (Insect fauna of chestnut orchards in Ishikawa Prefecture VI). Transactions of the Shikoku Entomological Society, 13(3/4):147-149
USDA Forest Service, 2001. Russian Lymantria project, program review. Forest Health Protection, Intermountain Region, USA. http://www.fs.fed.us/r1r4/spf/fhp/publications/weis_final.htm.
Zheng YX, Song JR, Wang YQ(et al), 1994. Control of Lymantria dispar and Lymantria mathura by spreading pesticides on chestnut trunks. China Fruits, No. 4:11-13, 15
Zlotina MA, Mastro VC, Elkinton JS, Leonard DE, 1999. Dispersal tendencies of neonate larvae of Lymantria mathura and the Asian form of Lymantria dispar (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae). Environmental Entomology, 28(2):240-245; 29 ref.
Zlotina MA, Mastro VC, Leonard DE, Elkinton JS, 1998. Survival and development of Lymantria mathura (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) on North American, Asian, and European tree species. Journal of Economic Entomology, 91(5):1162-1166; 23 ref.
Zolotarenko GS, Dubatov VV, 1998. Lymantriidae collection of Siberian Zoological Museum, Novobirsk, Russia. http://szmn.sbras.ru/Lepidop/ Lymantr.htm.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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