News of the WeekEcology

Silk Moth Deaths Show Perils of Biocontrol

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Science  22 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5500, pp. 2230-2231
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5500.2230b

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North America's largest, most spectacular moths are being decimated by a foreign fly introduced to control gypsy moths, a new study suggests. These cecropia moths and other native silk moths were once so common that people gathered cocoons by the basketful, but lately entomologists have been hard-pressed to find them. Now, a series of field experiments has shown that the European fly Compsilura concinnata has a ferocious appetite for silk moth caterpillars.