The Backstory of the Damaged Leaf Dataset

Lymantria dispar, also known as the spongy moth, is considered one of the most destructive invasive insects in the northeastern United States, responsible for defoliating millions of acres in North America.

Its caterpillar prefers Oak trees though it feasts on 300 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and is known to parachute into cropping fields for the leaves of blueberry and strawberry plants. Its caterpillars chew tree leaves into new and unexpected forms; molting 5 or 6 times before cocooning, as their mouths grow their marks on the leaves grow larger and more dramatic. 

The Damaged Leaf Dataset is a collected of leaves, mostly Oak and Maple, eaten by the Spongy Moth caterpillar during the outbreaks of 2021 and 2022, and collected in my neighborhood in Colchester, Vermont.

Read more about it in this Seven Days article.