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CAPS Non-target - Adult

Archips mortuana (Kearfott) (Tortricidae: Tortricinae: Archipini)

Common names: dusky-back leaf roller

Fig. 1: Male

Fig. 1: Male

Fig. 2: Male

Fig. 2: Male

Fig. 3: Male genitalia

Fig. 3: Male genitalia

Fig. 4: Female genitalia

Fig. 4: Female genitalia

Adult Recognition

FWL: 7.0-9.0 mm

The male forewing pattern is similar to that of Archips argyrospila, with at least one, and usually two, semi-rectangular pale tan patches on the costa. These costal patches are greatly reduced in the female, with the remaining pattern resembling the male or reduced to a patternless rusty gray. Males have a forewing costal fold.

Archips mortuana is part of the Archips argyrospila species complex, and it was once hypothesized to simply be a dark form of A. argyrospila (Powell 1964). Chapman and Lienk (1971) demonstrated that the sex pheromone for A. mortuana is different from A. argyrospila, providing evidence that the two are indeed separate species.

Larval Morphology

Larvae are 14-22 mm in length. Early to mid-instars are dark green dorsally and ligher green laterally; this color difference is reduced in the last instar. Pinacula are pale and contrast with the dark green dorsal coloration. The head is yellowish brown and may be unmarked or have dark-brown to black mottling. The prothoracic shield is greenish brown with variable degrees of posterior shading.


Archips mortuana completes one generation per year. Adults are present in June and July. This species has the same basic life history information as Archips argyrospila.

Females lay eggs in masses of approximately 60-80 individual eggs. Eggs overwinter and first instar larvae hatch the following spring. Larvae feed primarily on leaves and pupation occurs within the final larval feeding site.

Host plants

Chapman and Lienk (1971) consider apple and hawthorn to be the primary larval hosts in the northeastern U.S. Other host plants are listed here.

Family Genus/species Common name
Apiaceae Cicuta L. water hemlock
Betulaceae Alnus Mill. alder
Rosaceae Crataegus L. hawthorn
Rosaceae Malus Mill. apple
Rosaceae Prunus virginiana L. chokecherry
Rosaceae Spiraea L. meadowsweet
Salicaceae Populus balsamifera L. balsam poplar
Salicaceae Populus tremuloides Michx. quaking aspen
Salicaceae Salix bebbiana Sarg. Bebb willow
Salicaceae Salix L. willow


Archips mortuana is found in the eastern half North America. There are also individuals recorded from Utah and California, but Chapman and Lienk (1971) doubt the accuracy of these records.


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.

Freeman, T. N. 1958. The Archipinae of North America (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). The Canadian Entomologist Supplement 7 (Vol. 90): 1-89.

Powell, J. A. 1964. Biological and taxonomic studies on tortricine moths, with reference to the species in California. University of California Publications in Entomology. Vol. 32. 317 pp.

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