FWL: 7.0-8.0 mm (male); 9.0-10.0 (female)
Adults of T. leucotreta are sexually dimorphic, and the two sexes differ in overall size, wing shape, and male secondary sexual characters. Male forewings are triangular with an acute apex, while female forewings are more elongate with a rounded apex. Both sexes exhibit a combination of the same forewing pattern elements: a small white dot near the end of the discal cell; a patch of raised, usually rust or orange colored scales near the middle of the wing; a distinct "question-mark-shaped" band of dark scales along the termen; and a semicircular band of dark scales in the middle of the costa. Males are easily distinguished by a semicircular pocket of opalescent scales at the distal end of vein CuA2 on the hindwing, tufts of modified scales on the hind tibia, and an enlargement of the inner apical spur on the hind tibia. Males lack a forewing costal fold.Male genitalia are characterized by a rounded tegumen lacking an uncus or socii, large rounded valvae, and a tapered aedeagus that is upcurved distally. Female genitalia are characterized by a semicircular sterigma, narrow ductus bursae, and large rounded corpus bursae with a pair of thorn-shaped signa.
The semicircular pocket of scales on the hindwing can be used to separate T. leucotreta males from all other North American tortricids. A dissection can be used to confirm female identity.
For information on the larva of Thaumatotibia leucotreta, please consult the fact sheet and keys on LepIntercept - An identification resource for intercepted Lepidoptera larvae.
Thaumatotibia leucotreta is not known to diapause, and development is continuous with adults present year-round. As many as 10 generations are possible per year in South Africa. The absence of a diapause may lead to host shifts and varied developmental rates in times of drought or when preferred host plants are unavailable.
Females deposit eggs singly or in small groups on the surface of smooth fruit. A single female may produce between 87-456 eggs in her lifetime (with a maximum of 799). On fruit, larvae tunnel into the pith or feed beneath the surface. On cotton, larvae mine the wall of the boll and later move into the center of the boll to feed on the seeds. Larvae complete five instars. Last instar larvae exit the fruit or boll, drop from the host plant, and pupate in a silken cocoon in the soil, under leaf litter, or in bark crevices.
Larvae cause significant damage by feeding directly on fruit or bolls. Feeding in citrus fruit can result in premature ripening and fruit drop as well as secondary infection by fungi. Larval feeding in cotton results in secondary infection by fungus and bacteria, causing rotting of the bolls. Feeding in avocado fruit results in lesions on the fruit and secondary infection by bacteria and fungi. Chemical control of this species is difficult due to the highly polyphagous, internal feeding larvae, and crop losses can be as high as 10-20% during serious citrus infestations. Control of false codling moth in South Africa is achieved through a combination of chemical control, mating disruption, attract and kill, natural enemies, and sterile insect technique (SIT).
Larvae of T. leucotreta are highly polyphagous and have been recorded feeding on more than 50 species of plants in over 30 families. In Africa, false codling moth is a serious pest of citrus (Citrus L.), cotton (Gossypium L.), and avocado (Persea americana Mill.). It has also been reported causing serious damage to corn (Zea mays L.), guava (Psidium guajava L.), macadamia (Macadamia integrifolia Maiden & Betche), mango (Mangifera indica L.), peach (Prunus persica (L.) Batsch), and other horticultural crops.
False codling moth is one of the most commonly intercepted tortricids on pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) and eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) at U.S. ports-of-entry.
|Family ||Genus/species ||Common name|
|Anacardiaceae ||Mangifera indica L. ||mango|
|Anacardiaceae ||Sclerocarya birrea (A. Rich.) Hochst. ||marula|
|Annonaceae ||Annona muricata L. ||soursop|
|Annonaceae ||Annona reticulata L. ||custard apple|
|Asclepiadaceae ||Calotropis procera (Aiton) W. T. Aiton ||roostertree|
|Bombacaceae ||Ceiba pentandra (L.) Gaertn. ||kapoktree|
|Bromeliaceae ||Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. ||pineapple|
|Capparaceae ||Capparis L. ||caper|
|Celastraceae ||Catha edulis (Vahl) Forssk. ex Endl. ||khat|
|Clusiaceae ||Garcinia mangostana L. ||mangosteen|
|Combretaceae ||Combretum apiculatum Sond. ||red bushwillow|
|Combretaceae ||Combretum zeyheri Sond. ||large-fruited bushwillow|
|Crassulaceae ||Crassula L. ||pygmyweed|
|Ebenaceae ||Diospyros L. ||diospyros|
|Ebenaceae ||Diospyros virginiana L. ||common persimmon|
|Euphorbiaceae ||Ricinus communis L. ||castorbean|
|Fabaceae ||Acacia karroo Hayne ||sweet thorn|
|Fagaceae ||Quercus L. ||oak|
|Lauraceae ||Persea americana Mill. ||avocado|
|Malvaceae ||Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench ||okra|
|Malvaceae ||Abutilon Mill. ||mallow|
|Malvaceae ||Gossypium L. ||cotton|
|Malvaceae ||Hibiscus L. ||rosemallow|
|Myrtaceae ||Eugenia L. ||stopper|
|Myrtaceae ||Psidium guajava L. ||guava|
|Olacaeae ||Ximenia caffra Sond. ||sourplum|
|Oleaceae ||Olea europaea L. ||olive|
|Oxalidaceae ||Averrhoa carambola L. ||carambola|
|Poaceae ||Saccharum officinarum L. ||sugarcane|
|Poaceae ||Sorghum Moench ||sorghum|
|Poaceae ||Zea mays L. ||corn|
|Proteaceae ||Macadamia integrifolia Maiden & Betche ||macadamia nut|
|Punicaceae ||Punica granatum L. ||pomegranate|
|Rosaceae ||Prunus persica (L.) Batsch ||peach|
|Rosaceae ||Prunus L. ||plum|
|Rubiaceae ||Coffea arabica L. ||Arabian coffee|
|Rubiaceae ||Coffea L. ||coffee|
|Rubiaceae ||Vangueria infausta Burch. ||medlar|
|Rutaceae ||Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck ||navel orange|
|Rutaceae ||Citrus L. ||citrus|
|Sapindaceae ||Litchi chinensis Sonn. ||lychee|
|Sapotaceae ||Englerophytum magaliesmontana (Sond.) T. D. Penn. ||stem fruit|
|Solanaceae ||Capsicum annuum L. ||cayenne pepper|
|Solanaceae ||Solanum melongena L. ||eggplant|
|Stericulaceae ||Cola nitida (Vent.) A. Chev. ||ghanja kola|
|Theaceae ||Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze ||tea|
Thaumatotibia leucotreta is widely distributed across Africa and has been reported from approximately 40 countries on the African continent. It is not considered established outside of Africa although it is commonly intercepted during quarantine inspections in Europe.
Begemann, G. J. and A. S. Schoeman. 1999. The phenology of Helicoverpa armigera (Hubner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), Tortrix capensana (Walker) and Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) on citrus at Zebediela, South Africa. African Entomology 7(1): 131-148.
Daiber, C. C. 1979. A study of the biology of the false codling moth [Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyr.)]: the egg. Phytophylactica 11: 129-132.
Daiber, C. C. 1979. A study of the biology of the false codling moth [Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyr.)]: the larva. Phytophylactica 11: 141-144.
Daiber, C. C. 1979. A study of the biology of the false codling moth [Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyr.)]: the cocoon. Phytophylactica 11: 151-157.
Daiber, C. C. 1980. A study of the biology of the false codling moth Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyr.): the adult and generations during the year. Phytophylactica 12: 187-193.
Erichsen, C. and A. S. Schoeman. 1994. Moth pests of avocados. South African Avocado Growers' Association Yearbook 17: 109-112.
Gilligan, T. M., M. E. Epstein and K. M. Hoffman. 2011. Discovery of false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick), in California (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington. 113: 426-435.
Hofmeyr, J. H., J. E. Carpenter and S. Bloem. 2005. Developing the sterile insect technique for Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): influence of radiation doses and release ratio on fruit damage and population growth in field cages. Journal of Economic Entomology 98: 1924-1929.
Timm, A. E., L. Warnich and H. Geertsema. 2007. Morphological and molecular identification of economically important Tortricidae (Lepidoptera) on tropical and subtropical fruit in South Africa. African Entomology 15(2): 269-286.
Figs. 8-14: J. H. Hofmeyr, Citrus Research International, Bugwood.org