Moths dragged into woke war as 'gypsy moth' renamed 'Spongy Moth' over fears name is 'derogatory’

The term "gypsy" is considered a racist slur towards Romani people

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The gypsy moth has been renamed due to fears that its name could be viewed as "derogatory".

Scientists from the Entomological Society of American (ESA) have announced that the Lymantria dispar moth will now commonly be known as the ‘Spongy Moth'.

The word 'gypsy' is widely considered a racist slur towards Romani people, an Indo-Aryan ethnic group who live in Europe and US, leading to the name change.

The process for the change began in July 2021, with more than 50 scientists and professionals recommending the word 'spongy' instead.

Spongy Moth will now be used to determine the specific species in articles, scientific journals, presentations, posters, websites, social media and public policy documents, the ESA said.

After the announcement, ESA President Jessica Ware said: “Lymantria dispar is a damaging pest in North American forests, and public awareness is critical in slowing its spread.

“Spongy Moth gives entomologists and foresters a name for this species that reinforces an important feature of the moth's biology and moves away from the out-dated term that was previously used.”

The change has divided opinion on social media with some people like @Positively4thS saying: “This already-overwoke world is getting woker by the minute as scientists decide to change the name of the gypsy moth because it's racist and offensive to gypsies. I'm speechless.”

Meanwhile, others have welcomed the news such as @TAudiomancer who said: "I'm legitimately pretty excited about this. There is a.... surprisingly amount of racially insensitive names throughout the insect kingdom. Welcome Spongy Moth You're an absolute pest!"