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Creation of ‘Death Clouds’ of Fungal Spores Killing Gypsy Moths

A new Cornell study stated that a fungus can kill the populations of gypsy moths. It has the capacity to create ‘death clouds’ of spores which can travel for more than 40 miles. The death clouds of spores can potentially infect populations of invasive moths.

The forest trees especially oak and aspen were under danger due to gypsy moth (Lymantria dispar) caterpillars. The caterpillars used to eat the leaves of these trees and thus used to decimate the forests, orchards and properties across the northeastern United States. Gypsy moth caterpillars almost ate the leaves off 350,000 acres of forest plants in the year 2016 in the Massachusetts. This study was published online in the journal August 2017 in the Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The journal described a new method for tracing the geographic range of this fungus which is airborne insect pathogen. It was conducted in the areas of disease outbreak.

By: Bhavna Sharma


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