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CAPS Non-target - Adult

Argyrotaenia velutinana (Walker) (Tortricidae: Tortricinae: Archipini)

Common names: red-banded leaf roller (RBLR)

Synonyms: incertana (Tortrix), lutosana (Tortrix), triferana (Cacoecia)

Fig. 1: Male

Fig. 1: Male

Fig. 2: Male

Fig. 2: Male

Fig. 3: Female

Fig. 3: Female

Fig. 4: Male genitalia

Fig. 4: Male genitalia

Fig. 5: Female genitalia

Fig. 5: Female genitalia

Fig. 6: Larva

Fig. 6: Larva

Adult Recognition

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.

Larval Morphology

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 ArgyrotaeniaEpiphyas 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.

Host plants

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.

Photo Credits

Fig. 6: Clemson University - USDA Cooperative Extension Slide Series,

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