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CAPS Non-target - Adult

Acleris minuta (Robinson) (Tortricidae: Tortricinae: Tortricini)

Common names: yellow-headed fireworm, lesser apple leaf-folder

Synonyms: cinderella (Tortrix), malivorana (Tortrix), vacciniivorana (Tortrix), variolana (Teras)

Fig. 1: Summer form adult

Fig. 1: Summer form adult

Fig. 2: "Cinderella" form adult

Fig. 2: "Cinderella" form adult

Fig. 3: Male genitalia

Fig. 3: Male genitalia

Fig. 4: Female genitalia

Fig. 4: Female genitalia

Adult Recognition

FWL: 6.5-9.5 mm

Forewing color is uniform, and adults occur in two forms: a summer form which is yellow or orange, and an overwintering form, which is gray and is sometimes referred to as the "cinderella" form. Males lack a forewing costal fold.

Male genitalia are characterized by long, thin socii and a wide valva with the distal end of the sacculus greatly produced into a rounded lobe. Female genitalia are characterized by a wide ostium, partially twisted ductus bursae, and scobinate signum.

Larval Morphology

Last instar larvae are greenish yellow and approximately 12 mm in length.


Acleris minuta completes three generations over most of its range although only two generations have been recorded in northern localities. Adults of the first and second generation are orange or yellow and are present in June and August. Adults of the third generation are gray and are present in October; this species overwinters as a third generation adult.

Females deposit eggs singly on bark in the spring or on leaves in the summer. Eggs hatch in 7-10 days and first instar larvae feed on the underside of leaves; later instars web together leaves to create a shelter or fold single leaves.

In the past, this species has been recorded as a pest of apple, plum, and cranberry. The common name "fireworm" refers to the larval damage during heavy infestations, which has the appearance of being caused by fire. Acleris minuta is not currently considered a significant pest.

Host plants

Larvae have been reported feeding on several plants, mostly in the families Ericaceae and Rosaceae.

Family Genus/species Common name
Ericaceae Calluna Salisb. heather
Ericaceae Kalmia angustifolia L. sheep laurel
Ericaceae Kalmia L. laurel
Ericaceae Vaccinium macrocarpon Aiton cranberry
Ericaceae Vaccinium L. blueberry
Myricaceae Myrica gale L. sweetgale
Rosaceae Malus pumila Mill. paradise apple
Rosaceae Malus Mill. apple
Rosaceae Prunus L. peach
Rosaceae Prunus L. plum
Rosaceae Pyrus L. pear
Salicaceae Salix L. willow


Acleris minuta is widely distributed in eastern North America.


Chapman, P. J. and S. E. Lienk. 1971. Tortricid fauna of apple in New York (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae); including an account of apple's occurrence in the state, especially as a naturalized plant. Spec. Publ. Geneva, NY: New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. 122 pp.

Tortricids of Agricultural Importance by Todd M. Gilligan and Marc E. Epstein
Interactive Keys developed in Lucid 3.5. Last updated August 2014.