International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 295–305 | Cite as

Risk assessment of the gypsy moth, Lymantria dispar (L), in New Zealand based on phenology modelling

  • Joel Peter William Pitt
  • Jacques Régnière
  • Sue Worner
Original Article


The gypsy moth is a global pest that has not yet established in New Zealand despite individual moths having been discovered near ports. A climate-driven phenology model previously used in North America was applied to New Zealand. Weather and elevation data were used as inputs to predict where sustainable populations could potentially exist and predict the timing of hatch and oviposition in different regions. Results for New Zealand were compared with those in the Canadian Maritimes (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island) where the gypsy moth has long been established. Model results agree with the current distribution of the gypsy moth in the Canadian Maritimes and predict that the majority of New Zealand’s North Island and the northern coastal regions of the South Island have a suitable climate to allow stable seasonality of the gypsy moth. New Zealand’s climate appears more forgiving than that of the Canadian Maritimes, as the model predicts a wider range of oviposition dates leading to stable seasonality. Furthermore, we investigated the effect of climate change on the predicted potential distribution for New Zealand. Climate change scenarios show an increase in probability of establishment throughout New Zealand, most noticeably in the South Island.


Gypsy moth Lymantria Phenology model New Zealand Invasive insect Canadian Maritimes Potential distribution 



This research was funded by the National Center for Advanced Bio-protection Technologies, Lincoln University, New Zealand. Thanks to J.E. Hurley (Canadian Forestry Service, Atlantic Forestry Centre, Fredericton, NB, Canada) for the compilation of EGM records from the Maritime provinces. Thanks to Rémi St-Amant (Canadian Forest Service, Quebec City, QC, Canada) for help with model alterations. The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) of New Zealand allowed us use of historical New Zealand weather data from 1972 to 2005.


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Copyright information

© ISB 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joel Peter William Pitt
    • 1
  • Jacques Régnière
    • 2
  • Sue Worner
    • 1
  1. 1.Lincoln UniversityLincolnNew Zealand
  2. 2.Canadian Forest ServiceQuebecCanada

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