This Insect’s Name Has Been Deemed Offensive and Will Be Changed
Earlier this month it was decided that the recognized common name 'gypsy moth' would be removed after a formal complaint was raised in 2020 that suggested the term 'gypsy' is offensive.
According to the New York Times, the Entomological Society of America announced that the common name “gypsy ant” would also be removed. This is the first time the society has removed a common name from an insect on the grounds that it is offensive to a community of people.
If people are feeling excluded because of what we call something, that’s not acceptable. We’re going to make changes to be a welcoming and inclusive society for all entomologists. - Michelle Smith, President Entomology Society of America
Once the complaint was raised and a formal request was made to remove the name the proposal went before the common names committee. The committee reviewed how they decide on acceptable common names. They also reached out to Dr. Ethel Brooks, a Romani scholar and the chair of women's, gender and sexuality studies at Rutgers University, who said the move is groundbreaking.
This is a step toward us being able to push back, and say, 'Hey, there are actually 12 million or more of us in the world. We have a history. We are people. We're human. - Dr. Brooks
CNN reports that a group of volunteers will rename the insects. In the meantime they will go by their Latin name, Lymantria dispar and Aphaenogaster araneoides.