Gypsy moths (and other insects) are ectothermic, or cold-blooded, which makes them particularly sensitive to climatic changes (e.g. Logan et al. 2003, Vanhaven et al. 2007), because it is hard for them to compensate for an unfavorable climate. Gypsy moths require a climate warm enough for the adults to emerge, have time to mate, lay eggs and for the eggs to have some development prior to the onset of winter. At the same time, the winter chilling temperatures are also important for egg development. (See Régnière and Negalis 2002) Climate change is predicted to result in northern (Vanhanen et al. 2007) and western (Logan 2003) shifts in Gypsy moth change. Gypsy moth presence has declined in Virginia, most likely due to management actions; however changes in climatic conditions may reduce the suitable habitat in Virginia further over time. Decline of gypsy moths in Virginia also may be due to previous infestations that significantly reduced the oak population.
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We thank Jeff Boettner for his generosity in providing information, references, and tachinid identifications, and for his helpful review of this manuscript; Ken Ahlstrom for wasp identifications; Tim Tigner (Virginia Dept. of Forestry) for information on gypsy moths in Virginia; Michael Collins for saturniid rearing advice and stimulating discussion; Brian Cusato for statistical consultations; and Joe Malloy for assistance obtaining references. Shelly Kellogg was supported by an Honors Summer Research Fellowship from Sweet Briar College and a grant from the Scion Natural Science Association.
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