Thursday, July 19, 2007

the origin of the gypsy moth problem

Maybe you know this, but in the 1860's Leopold Trouvelot, a French naturalist living in Medford, MA (home of Tufts), inadvertently caused one of the worst pest infestations in US history. Essentially Trouvelot was trying to breed a better silk moth by cross-breeding it with a gypsy moth. Somehow the gypsy moths got loose on his property. Realizing the potential harm at hand, he contacted the authorities, who did nothing. Years later, Trouvelot was to become one of the leading painters of astronomical phenomena (before photography was able to capture such things). Sadly, his ultimate fame lies in his moth experiment gone awry.


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