FWL: 5.0-8.0 mm
Males are dark brown to black with a conspicuous white ocellus and dorsal patch. Females are pale brown to tan with a dark basal patch that does not extend to the costa. Males lack a forewing costal fold.
Male genitalia are characterized by valvae with an enlarged, subtriangular cucullus. Female genitalia are characterized by a pair of lobes or "flaps" projecting from sternum VII and two signa in the corpus bursae.
In the Nearctic, C. plebejana may appear similar to other Eucosmini, including other species of Crocidosema or Epinotia. A genitalic dissection can be used to confirm identity. The bean shoot moth, Crocidosema aporema, can be separated from C. plebejana by a parallel-sided cucullus in the male and a pair of shallow, rounded pockets on sternum VII in the female.
Late instar larvae are approximately 8-10 mm in length with an abdomen that varies in color from whitish to yellowish brown to dark reddish brown. The head is yellowish brown to dark brown with black posterolateral margins. The prothoracic shield is dark yellowish brown. Pinacula are small and body colored. An anal comb is present with 4-6 teeth.
Larvae feeding on cotton can cause damage similar to that caused by the pink bollworm, Pectinophora gossypiella (Gelechiidae). Pink bollworm larvae can be separated from C. plebejana larvae by their pink coloration.
For more information on the larva of Crocidosema plebejana, please consult the C. aporema fact sheet and keys on
LepIntercept - An identification resource for intercepted Lepidoptera larvae.
Crocidosema plebejana is not known to diapause; although Bradley et al. (1979) report only 1-2 generations per year in southern England. In temperate regions, continuous generations occur and adults are present year-round.
Larvae are reported as a pest of cotton in Australia, but this species has not reached pest status in the cotton-growing regions of North America. In areas where cotton is a preferred host, other malvaceous plants are utilized during times of the year when cotton is unsuitable or unavailable. The life history information provided here is applicable to cotton as the larval host.
Females lay eggs singly on the upper and lower surfaces of leaves in or close to the terminals and lateral buds. Early instars feed on leaves under loose silk webbing. Later instars move to the terminals and tunnel into stems; they may also feed on leaf petioles and young bolls. Pupation occurs in terminal regions in webbed or tied leaves.
Although members of the Malvaceae are preferred hosts, larvae have also been recorded feeding on plants in the Anacardiaceae, Chenopodiaceae, Fabaceae, Myrtaceae, Poaceae, Rosaceae, Salicaceae, and Turneraceae.
|Family ||Genus/species ||Common name|
|Anacardiaceae ||Rhus pyroides Burch. |
|Chenopodiaceae ||Atriplex limbata Benth. |
|Fabaceae ||Phaseolus lunatus L. ||sieva bean|
|Fabaceae ||Senna occidentalis (L.) Link ||septicweed|
|Malvaceae ||[unspecified] |
|Malvaceae ||Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench ||okra|
|Malvaceae ||Abutilon eremitopetalum Caum ||hiddenpetal Indian mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Abutilon grandifolium (Willd.) Sweet ||hairy Indian mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Abutilon indicum (L.) Sweet ||monkeybush|
|Malvaceae ||Abutilon menziesii Seem. ||ko'oloa 'ula|
|Malvaceae ||Abutilon Mill. ||Indian mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Abutilon sandwicense (O. Deg.) Christoph. ||greenflower Indian mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Alcea rosea L. ||hollyhock|
|Malvaceae ||Althaea L. ||marshmallow|
|Malvaceae ||Anoda cristata (L.) Schltdl. ||crested anoda|
|Malvaceae ||Gossypium hirsutum L. ||upland cotton|
|Malvaceae ||Gossypium L. ||cotton|
|Malvaceae ||Hibiscus L. ||rosemallow|
|Malvaceae ||Hibiscus laevis All. ||halberdleaf rosemallow|
|Malvaceae ||Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L. ||shoeblackplant|
|Malvaceae ||Kosteletzkya C. Presl ||kosteletzkya|
|Malvaceae ||Lavatera arborea L. ||tree mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Lavatera L. ||tree mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malacothamnus clementinus (Munz & I.M. Johnst.) Kearney ||San Clemente Island bushmallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malva L. ||mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malva moschata L. ||musk mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malva parviflora L. ||cheeseweed mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malva sylvestris L. ||high mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malvastrum americanum (L.) Torr. ||Indian Valley false mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malvaviscus arboreus Dill. ex Cav. var. drummondii (Torr. & A. Gray) Schery ||wax mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Malvaviscus Fabr. ||wax mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Sida fallax Walp. ||yellow 'ilima|
|Malvaceae ||Sida L. ||fanpetals|
|Malvaceae ||Sida rhombifolia L. ||Cuban jute|
|Myrtaceae ||Eucalyptus L'Her. ||gum|
|Poaceae ||Triticum aestivum L. ||common wheat|
|Poaceae ||Zea mays L. ||corn|
|Rosaceae ||Crataegus L. ||hawthorn|
|Salicaceae ||Salix subserrata Willd. |
|Turneraceae ||Turnera ulmifolia L. ||ramgoat dashalong|
Crocidosema plebejana is a cosmopolitan species that is distributed across southern Europe, northern Africa, Asia, Australia, North America, Central America, and South America. In the U.S., it is found primarily in the Southeast, Texas, New Mexico, and California.
Bishop, A. L. and P. R. B. Blood. 1978. Temporal distribution, biology and life history of the cotton tipworm, Crocidosema plebiana [sic] Zeller, on cotton in the south-eastern Queensland region. Australian Journal of Zoology. 26: 147-152.
Bradley, J. D., W. G. Tremewan and A. Smith. 1979. British Tortricoid Moths - Tortricidae: Olethreutinae. The Ray Society, London, England. 336 pp.
Heinrich, C. 1923. Revision of the North American moths of the subfamily Eucosminae of the family Olethreutidae. U.S. National Museum Bulletin. 123: 1-298.
Horak, M. 2006. Olethreutine moths of Australia (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Monographs on Australian Lepidoptera, Vol. 10. 522 pp.
MacKay, M. R. 1959. Larvae of the North American Olethreutidae (Lepidoptera). Canadian Entomologist Supplement 10: 1-338.
Powell, J. A. and P. A. Opler. 2009. Moths of western North America. University of California Press, Berkeley. 369 pp.
Razowski, J. 2003. Tortricidae of Europe, Vol. 2, Olethreutinae. Frantisek Slamka, Slovakia. 301 pp.