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CAPS Non-target - Adult

[Species complex] (Tortricidae: Olethreutinae: Grapholitini)

Cydia toreuta (Grote)

Cydia piperana Kearfott

Common names: eastern pine seedworm, ponderosa pine seed moth

Fig. 1: Male

Fig. 1: Male

Fig. 2: Male genitalia

Fig. 2: Male genitalia

Fig. 3: Female genitalia

Fig. 3: Female genitalia

Fig. 4: Larva in cone

Fig. 4: Larva in cone

Adult Recognition

FWL: 5.0-7.5 mm (C. toreuta); 8.0-10.0 mm (C. piperana)

Forewings are dark grayish brown with three transverse metallic bars running from costa to dorsum. Males lack a forewing costal fold.

Cydia toreuta belongs to a complex of similar species that includes names such as C. ingens, C. injectiva, C. miscitata, and C. piperana. Placement to complex is straightforward based on the distinctive forewing pattern. It is unknown how many species are in this complex, and it most likely includes several undescribed species. The common eastern species is C. toreuta and the common western species is C. piperana.

Larval Morphology

Late instar larvae are approximately 12 mm in length with a pale abdomen and yellowish-brown head and prothoracic shield. An anal comb is absent.


Members of this complex generally complete one generation per year. Adults are present in the East from late May to mid-August and on the West Coast from Februrary to June.

Females deposit eggs on green cones. Larvae bore between the cone scales and consume the seeds. Overwintering occurs in a tunnel at the center of the cone.

Host plants

Larvae feed in the cones of various Pinus species.

Family Genus/species Common name
Pinaceae Pinus banksiana Lamb. jack pine
Pinaceae Pinus contorta Douglas ex Louden lodgepole pine
Pinaceae Pinus echinata Mill. shortleaf pine
Pinaceae Pinus resinosa Aiton red pine
Pinaceae Pinus taeda L. loblolly pine
Pinaceae Pinus virginiana Mill. Virginia pine


Cydia toreuta is distributed from Pennsylvania to Minnesota, south to Texas. Cydia piperana is widely distributed in the West. Cydia ingens is the name applied to the species found in Flordia. Other undescribed species range into Mexico.


Abrahamson, L. P. and K. J. Kraft. 1965. A population study of the cone moth Laspeyresia toreuta Grote in Pinus banksiana stands. Ecology. 46: 561-563.

Gilligan, T. M., D. J. Wright and L. D. Gibson. 2008. Olethreutine moths of the midwestern United States, an identification guide. Ohio Biological Survey, Columbus, Ohio. 334 pp.

Harbo, J. R. and K. J. Kraft. 1969. A study of Phanerotoma toreutae, a parasite of the pine cone moth Laspeyresia toreuta. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 62: 214-220.

Heinrich, C. 1926. Revision of the North American moths of the subfamilies Laspeyresiinae and Olethreutinae. Bulletin of the U.S. National Museum. 132: 1-216.

MacKay, M. R. 1959. Larvae of the North American Olethreutidae (Lepidoptera). Canadian Entomologist Supplement 10: 1-338.

Powell, J. A. and P. A. Opler. 2009. Moths of western North America. University of California Press, Berkeley. 369 pp.

Photo Credits

Fig. 4: Steven Katovich, USDA Forest Service (

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