Microlepidoptera on Solanaceae

Rhectocraspeda periusalis


Rhectocraspeda periusalis (Walker, 1859)

Common name: Eggplant leafroller, eggplant webworm, tobacco leaf folder, tobacco leaf tier

Original combination: Botys periusalis Walker, 1859


  • Pachyzancla perfusalis (Forbes, 1923) (misspelling)
  • Pilemia deformalis Möschler, 1882
  • Rapoona tristis Hedemann, 1894

Alternative combinations: Pachyzancla periusalis, Pilemia periusalis

Classification: Pyraloidea, Crambidae, Spilomelinae, genus group unplaced

Adult recognition

Sexually dimorphic (males larger), with female forewing length 8.2 - 9.7 mm, males 9.5 - 10.0 mm. The moth is brown with blackish transverse lines, and fresh specimens have a glistening shine. The frons is round, and the labial palps are short and porrect, with the apical segment small and hardly visible in the scale tuft. The male genitalia have a short, bifid (split) uncus that is unique among species treated here. The valvae are oval, hairy, and have only a slender, spine-like process extending inward from the sacculus. The female genitalia have a large appendix bursae near the antrum that is almost as large as the corpus bursae proper.

Immature stages

Young larvae are yellowish without distinct markings. Older larvae are about 20 mm long and have two red-brown dorsal stripes and light reddish-brown markings on the sides. The head is mottled. The prothoracic shield is dark brown, nearly black, with a pale middle section. The pinacula are conspicuously brown. The subventral group of the first abdominal segment has two setae, and the D2 pinacula on the eighth segment are not fused.

Similar species

Among the species treated here, only D. fovealis approximates R. periusalis in size and color. However, D. fovealis has gray wings with white lines, rather than brown with black lines. Its forewing venation is distinctive, the male genitalia have an unsplit uncus and two fibulae in addition to the saccular spine, and females lack an appendix bursae. Larvae of D. fovealis have a nearly uniformly brown prothoracic shield with only a very narrow pale medial stripe, as well as three setae in the A1 SV group and fused D2 pinacula on A8. Among other species not treated here, Spilomelinae and Pyraustinae include several small brown moths, such as Herpetogramma phaeopteralis (Guenée) (Tropical sod webworm), but they are polyphagous or feed on plants other than Solanaceae.


Single eggs are laid on the underside of leaves and hatch in five to eight days. Young larvae mine the leaves in irregular blotch mines or feed on tissue near the leaf’s midrib. Subsequent larval instars exit the mine and web leaves together or fold over leaf edges to feed and hide inside. On tobacco, they prefer young, tender growth. Larvae feed for 18 to 20 days and undergo four or more instars before entering a 3-day prepupal stage. Pupation occurs in a loose cocoon among the webbing, and it lasts 9 to 12 day . The life cycle lasts about 7 weeks in the tropics.


In the southern USA, it is recorded from FL, GA, LA, and MS. Also known from Brazil, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Puerto Rico, Surinam, and Trinidad and Tobago.


Capsicum annuum L. (red pepper)

Nicotiana tabacum L. (tobacco)

Solanum hirtum Vahl.

S. lycopersicum L. (tomato)

S. melongena L. (eggplant)

S. nigrum L. (black nightshade)

S. torvum Sw. (turkey berry)


Callan, 1953.

Cotton, 1917.

Grossbeck, 1917.

Jones, 1915.

Passoa, 1985.