ⓘ Leafroller moth. The Tortricidae are a family of moths, commonly known as tortrix moths or leafroller moths, in the order Lepidoptera. This large family has ove ..

Leafroller moth

ⓘ Leafroller moth

The Tortricidae are a family of moths, commonly known as tortrix moths or leafroller moths, in the order Lepidoptera. This large family has over 10.350 species described, and is the sole member of the superfamily Tortricoidea, although the genus Heliocosma is sometimes placed within this superfamily. Many of these are economically important pests. Olethreutidae is a junior synonym. The typical resting posture is with the wings folded back, producing a rather rounded profile.

Notable tortricids include the codling moth and the spruce budworm, which are among the most well-studied of all insects because of their economic impact.


1. Description

Tortricid moths are generally small, with a wingspan of 3 cm or less. Many species are drab and have mottled and marbled brown colors, but some diurnal species are brightly colored and mimic other moths of the families Geometridae and Pyralidae.


2. Life cycle and behavior

Tortricid eggs are often flattened and scale-like.

Larvae in the subfamilies Chlidanotinae and Olethreutinae usually feed by boring into stems, roots, buds, or seeds. Larvae in the subfamily Tortricinae, however, feed externally and construct leaf rolls. Larvae in the subfamily Tortricinae tend to be more polyphagous than those in Chlidanotinae and Olethreutinae. Tortricinae also possess an anal fork for flicking excrement away from their shelters.


3. Some common tortricids

The tortricids include many economically important pests, including:

  • Argyrotaenia ljungiana, a pest on vines, maize, and fruit trees
  • Peach moth Cydia molesta
  • Cherry fruitworm Grapholita packardi
  • Oriental fruit moth Grapholita molesta
  • Barred fruit tree tortrix moth Pandemis cerasana
  • Fruit tree tortrix moth Archips podana
  • Spruce budworm Genus Choristoneura
  • Chestnut and acorn moth Cydia splendana
  • Bud moth Spilonota ocellana
  • European grapevine moth Lobesia botrana
  • Codling moth Cydia pomonella
  • Pea moth Cydia nigricana
  • Summer fruit tortrix moth Adoxophyes orana
  • Plum fruit moth Cydia funebrana
  • False codling moth Thaumatotibia Cryptophlebia leucotreta)
  • Hemp borer Grapholita delineana
  • Rose leaf roller Archips rosana
  • Light brown apple moth Epiphyas postvittana
  • Long-palped tortrix vine leaf roller Sparganothis pilleriana
  • Grape berry moth Paralobesia viteana

See also Mexican jumping bean moth Cydia deshaisiana


3.1. Some common tortricids A typical tortricid – the codling moth

The Tortricidae are considered to be the single most important family of insects that feed on apples, both economically and in diversity of feeding found on fruit, buds, leaves, and shoots. In New York, no fewer than seventeen species of Tortricidae have gained pest status in regards to apple production.

The codling moth Cydia pomonella causes worm-holes in apples. It has been accidentally spread from its original range in Europe and is now found in North and South America, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, wherever apples are grown. Control has required the use of the harshest available insecticides – historically lead arsenate and DDT were used for control. These chemicals brought considerable environmental dangers, and in any case the insect gradually developed resistance to them. Currently, organophosphate sprays are favored and are timed carefully to catch the hatching larvae before they can bore into the fruit.