Purple loosestrife, Lythrum salicaria, is an exotic invasive weed which is currently the target of a biological control effort using introduced leaf-feeding beetles. In 1997-1998 we observed larvae of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar feeding on L. salicaria at several locations in south central Michigan. In one-minute timed counts conducted over a six-week period in 1998, densities of 0 to 8 larvae per 1-m2 quadrat were observed. Other observations indicated 23 L. dispar 2nd and 3rd instars on a single L. salicaria plant. Second and third instar L. dispar collected on L. salicaria in the field were successfully reared to the adult stage in the lab on a diet of L. salicaria foliage. This is the first report of L. dispar feeding and development on L. salicaria. In areas where they co-occur, distinguishing L. dispar damage from that of introduced natural enemies will be important so that estimates of biocontrol agent impact are not biased.
Sebolt, Donald C. and Landis, Douglas A.
"Gypsy Moth (Lepidoptera: Lymantriidae) Feeding on Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum Salicaria) in Michigan,"
The Great Lakes Entomologist, vol 32
Available at: https://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol32/iss1/10