Invasive species are a looming problem no matter where you go, and for my money, bugs are usually the worst of them. This invasive insect, which is established in Michigan as well as many other Northeastern states, recently had to undergo a name change.

You'd probably recognize the female look of this invasive moth species. It's a bit bigger than its male counterpart and a creamy-white color with black wavy lines crossing over its wings. The female bug doesn't fly though. The smaller, brown males do fly. However, the moth got its original name from how its larvae are blown in the wind and the tendency for the caterpillar stage to migrate to different trees each day.

The moth was once innocently known as the Gypsy Moth, simply because of the nomadic nature of its young. Still, the irony of the name was somewhat lost on the dormant female.

Jerzy Strzelecki - Wikipedia Commons
Jerzy Strzelecki - Wikipedia Commons

However, back in 2022 if you missed it, the insect underwent a name change.

While the bug may have been innocently named for its nomadic tendencies, the term "gypsy" is seen as an offensive term these days. The term is seen as offensive, dangerous and dehumanizing since its origin of being used to disparage the Romani people, which is a northern India ethnic group often mistaken as Egyptian. While we in the West don't have a familiarity with the plight of these people, the people described as "gypsies" in the real world were/are treated much worse than Esmeralda in The Hunchback of Notre Dame Disney movie.

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The bug's new name is the Spongy Moth, a reference to the sponge-like egg masses the moth leaves behind. That name was chosen out of more than 200 nominations.

Ryan Hodnett via Wikipedia Commons
Ryan Hodnett via Wikipedia Commons

Now, count me out of the whole "wokeness" deal - people believe what they're going to believe and they aren't likely to change their mind. It's just a bug, after all - an invasive species at that, known for deteriorating trees. So instead of getting worked up about its name, report signs and sightings of Spongy Moths using the Midwest Invasive Species Information Network reporting tool.

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