FWL: 5.5-7.5 mm (male); 6.5-8.0 mm (female)
Forewing ground color ranges from pale brown to golden brown. The most conspicuous wing marking is the reddish-brown median fascia, which is the basis for the species' common name. Other markings can be quite variable, although generally there is a dark mark or partial fascia at the base of the wing, a reddish-brown outer costal spot, and a row of near-white scales along the termen that may extend to the median fascia in some individuals. Hindwings are grayish brown. Males lack a forewing costal fold.
Adults can appears similar to other species of Argyrotaenia. In the Nearctic, this includes species such as A. floridana, A. kimballi, A. niscana, A. pinatubana, and A. tabulana. In the Palearctic, Argyrotaenia ljungiana may appear similar. A genitalic dissection can be used to confirm identity. Male A. velutinana have a distal, pointed projection from the median sclerotized portion of the valva that is absent in A. ljungiana.
Late instar larvae are 13-18 mm in length with a green to yellowish green abdomen. The head, prothoracic shield, and thoracic legs are yellowish green and unmarked.
The green unmarked larva can be confused with the larva of many other tortricids, including other species of Argyrotaenia, Epiphyas postvittana, and Choristoneura rosaceana.
Argyrotaenia velutinana completes 2-3 full generations over much of its range. Because this species undergoes facultative diapause, the number of generations can vary depending on latitude. In the North, only two generations are completed, with a partial third possible. In the South, a possible fourth generation is present. Overwintering occurs in the pupal stage.
In New York, adults of the overwintering (second) generation are present in April and May. Those of the first generation are present in late June to July. In southern Indiana and Virginia, adults of the overwintering (fourth) generation are present in March and April. Those of the first generation are present in late May to June, those of the second generation are present in July, and those of the third generation present in August and September.
In the spring, females lay eggs in masses on smooth bark of the trunk and lower limbs of host trees. During the summer, females lay egg masses on the upper surface of leaves. Each egg mass contains approximately 40-45 individual eggs. Egg development time ranges from 7-12 days in the South to 14-21 days in the North. First instar larvae crawl up limbs in search of food or disperse on silk threads to other parts of the host or to other plants. Early instars skeletonize the upper surface of a leaf along the midrib, concealed by a patch of silk. They remain under the silk patch until the penultimate instar, at which point they move to feed on other leaves or fruit. Late instar larvae of the summer generations will often construct a shelter by webbing a leaf to fruit, and feeding underneath directly on the fruit. Larval feeding damage causes fruit rot and early drop in hosts such as apple. Larvae will continue to feed on fallen fruit and may be dispersed in this manner if fallen fruit is moved to a different location. Larvae complete development in approximately 30 days and move to the ground to pupate in a folded leaf under other leaves and debris. Adults of the first two generations eclose in 7-13 days; those of the last generation eclose the following spring.
Argyrotaenia velutinana was once considered one of the most important tortricid pests on apple in the eastern United States. Its status as a major pest peaked after the widespread use of DDT in the late 1940's presumably destroyed many of its natural enemies. It is currently controlled under most IPM programs and is only considered a minor pest.
Larvae of Argyrotaenia velutinana are highly polyphagous and have been described by Freeman (1958) as feeding "on almost any plant." This includes several conifers, as reported by Prentice (1966). Chapman and Lienk (1971) speculate that primary hosts may be limited to members of the Rosaceae, as apple appears to be a preferred host in many regions.The following partial host list includes both primary and secondary hosts:
|Family ||Genus/species ||Common name|
|Aceraceae ||Acer L. ||maple|
|Apocynaceae ||Apocynum L. ||dogbane|
|Aquifoliaceae ||Ilex decidua Walter ||possumhaw|
|Asteraceae ||[unspecified] |
|Asteraceae ||Ambrosia trifida L. ||great ragweed|
|Asteraceae ||Chrysanthemum L. ||daisy|
|Asteraceae ||Zinnia violacea Cav. ||elegant zinnia|
|Betulaceae ||Alnus Mill. ||alder|
|Betulaceae ||Betula papyrifera Marshall ||paper birch|
|Campanulaceae ||Lobelia L. ||lobelia|
|Caprifoliaceae ||Lonicera L. ||honeysuckle|
|Ericaceae ||Vaccinium L. ||blueberry|
|Fagaceae ||Quercus L. ||oak|
|Geraniaceae ||Geranium L. ||geranium|
|Malvaceae ||Alcea rosea L. ||hollyhock|
|Myricaceae ||Myrica gale L. ||sweetgale|
|Orchidaceae ||Platanthera cristata (Michx.) Lindl. ||crested yellow orchid|
|Pinaceae ||Abies balsamea (L.) Mill. ||balsam fir|
|Pinaceae ||Larix Mill. ||larch|
|Pinaceae ||Picea glauca (Moench) Voss ||white spruce|
|Pinaceae ||Picea mariana (Mill.) Britton, Sterns & Poggenb. ||black spruce|
|Pinaceae ||Picea rubens Sarg. ||red spruce|
|Pinaceae ||Pinus sylvestris L. ||Scots pine|
|Pinaceae ||Tsuga canadensis (L.) Carriere ||eastern hemlock|
|Rosaceae ||Malus Mill. ||apple|
|Rosaceae ||Prunus domestica L. ||European plum|
|Rosaceae ||Prunus pensylvanica L. f. ||pin cherry|
|Rosaceae ||Prunus persica (L.) Batsch ||peach|
|Rosaceae ||Prunus serotina Ehrh. ||black cherry|
|Rosaceae ||Rosa L. ||rose|
|Salicaceae ||Populus tremuloides Michx. ||quaking aspen|
|Salicaceae ||Salix L. ||willow|
|Tiliaceae ||Tilia americana L. ||American basswood|
|Ulmaceae ||Ulmus americana L. ||American elm|
|Violaceae ||Viola L. ||violet|
|Vitaceae ||Vitis vinifera L. ||wine grape|
Argyrotaenia velutinana 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.
Freeman, T. N. 1958. The Archipinae of North America (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). The Canadian Entomologist Supplement 7 (Vol. 90): 1-89.
Prentice, R. M. 1966. Forest Lepidoptera of Canada recorded by the Forest Insect Survey. Vol. 4. Microlepidoptera. Publication 1142, Department of Forestry, Canada, Ottawa. 543-840.
Summerland, S. A. and D. W. Hamilton. 1955. Biology of the red-banded leaf roller in southern Indiana. Journal of Economic Entomology. 48: 51-53.
Fig. 6: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series, Bugwood.org