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Adult Stage
The Adult Moth: They Live to Reproduce
Adult Gypsy Moth
The gypsy moth adult male and female moths look very different from each other. Females are 1 1/2 inches long and are white with a black chevron on their forewings. Female moths can't fly and will fall to the ground if picked up. Male gypsy moths are mottled brown and gray and have large feathery antennae. They are similar in appearance to many native moths. They can be distinguished, however, by their behavior; they fly in search of females in the late afternoon and not at night.

The only function of the adult stage of the gypsy moth is to reproduce. Unlike any other moths and butterflies, the adult gypsy moth cannot feed. They have about two weeks to find a mate before they die. Once the male has found the female, they mate. The female lays all her eggs in a single teardrop-shaped mass and covers it with buff-colored hairs from her own body. A female that ate well as a larva can produce 600 to 1,000 eggs in a mass about 1 1/2 inches long. A female that starved in the last two weeks of larval development may only produce 50 eggs.

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