Thaumatotibia leucotreta (false codling moth)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Host Plants and Other Plants Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Plant Trade
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Thaumatotibia leucotreta Meyrick
Preferred Common Name
- false codling moth
Other Scientific Names
- Cryptophlebia leucotreta Meyrick
- Cryptophlebia roerigii Zacher
- Olethreutes leucotreta Meyrick
- Thaumatotibia roerigii Zacher
International Common Names
- English: citrus codling moth; orange codling moth; orange moth
- Spanish: palomilla de la naranja
- French: fausse carpocapse; teigne de l'oranger
- ARGPLE (Cryptophlebia leucotreta)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page T. leucotreta has long been known as a pest in tropical Africa but it has failed to invade other areas as yet.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Tortricidae
- Genus: Thaumatotibia
- Species: Thaumatotibia leucotreta
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page This species was for a long time known as Cryptophlebia leucotreta Meyrick, but Komai (1999) transferred the species to the genus Thaumatotibia.
DescriptionTop of page
Flattened, oval, diameter 0.9 mm.
When young yellowish-white with dark spots. The full grown larva is about 15 mm long, bright red or pink, head prothoracic plate and pinacula yellow-brown.
Contained within a tough silken cocoon amongst debris or in the soil.
Strongly dimorphic: Male wingspan 15-16 mm, female 19-20 mm. In both sexes the forewing pattern consists of a mixture of grey, brown, black and orange-brown markings, the most conspicuous being a triangular marking in the outer part of the wing, against the hind margin, and a crescent shaped marking above it. The male is distinguished from all other species by its specialised hindwing, which is slightly reduced and has a circular pocket of fine hair-like black scales overlaid with broad weakly shining whitish scales in the anal angle. It also has a heavily tufted hind tibia.
Timm et al. (2007, 2008) provide morphological and molecular keys to aid in the identification of economically important Tortricidae in South Africa, including T. leucotreta.
DistributionTop of page
Following the detection of a single adult male in a trap in Ventura County, California, USA, in 2008 (Gilligan et al., 2011), APHIS and the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) conducted extensive surveys for T. leucotreta throughout the state. There have been no further detections of the pest in California, and the 2008 detection is considered an isolated regulatory incident. T. leucotreta is listed as a quarantine pest in the USA (NAPPO, 2016).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Israel||Restricted distribution||CABI/EPPO, 2002; Wysoki, 1986; EPPO, 2014|
|Burkina Faso||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|Cape Verde||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Central African Republic||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|Chad||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Congo Democratic Republic||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Côte d'Ivoire||Present||EPPO, 2014|
|Eritrea||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Ethiopia||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Gambia||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Ghana||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Kenya||Widespread||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Madagascar||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Malawi||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Mali||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Mauritius||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Mozambique||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Niger||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Nigeria||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Réunion||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Rwanda||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Saint Helena||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Senegal||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Sierra Leone||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Somalia||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|South Africa||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Sudan||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Swaziland||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Tanzania||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Togo||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Uganda||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Zambia||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Zimbabwe||Present||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|USA||Absent, confirmed by survey||NAPPO, 2016|
|-California||Absent, confirmed by survey||Gilligan et al., 2011; NAPPO, 2016|
|Denmark||Absent, intercepted only||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Finland||Absent, intercepted only||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|Germany||Transient: actionable, under eradication||EPPO, 2018|
|Italy||Absent, intercepted only||Mazza et al., 2014|
|Netherlands||Eradicated||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014; IPPC, 2014|
|Spain||Absent, intercepted only||EPPO, 2014|
|Sweden||Absent, intercepted only||Svensson, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
|UK||Absent, intercepted only||CABI/EPPO, 2002; EPPO, 2014|
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page T. leucotreta is extremely polyphagous, there being in excess of 70 food plants recorded.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Abutilon hybridum (Indian mallow)||Malvaceae||Main|
|Ananas comosus (pineapple)||Bromeliaceae||Main|
|Annona muricata (soursop)||Annonaceae||Main|
|Averrhoa carambola (carambola)||Oxalidaceae||Main|
|Camellia sinensis (tea)||Theaceae||Main|
|Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)||Solanaceae||Unknown|
|Ceiba pentandra (kapok)||Bombacaceae||Main|
|Citrus sinensis (navel orange)||Rutaceae||Unknown|
|Coffea arabica (arabica coffee)||Rubiaceae||Main|
|Litchi chinensis (lichi)||Sapindaceae||Main|
|Macadamia ternifolia (Queensland nut)||Proteaceae||Unknown|
|Mangifera indica (mango)||Anacardiaceae||Main|
|Olea europaea subsp. europaea (European olive)||Oleaceae||Main|
|Persea americana (avocado)||Lauraceae||Main|
|Prunus persica (peach)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Psidium cattleianum (strawberry guava)||Myrtaceae||Other|
|Psidium friedrichsthalianum (wild guava)||Myrtaceae||Wild host|
|Psidium guajava (guava)||Myrtaceae||Main|
|Punica granatum (pomegranate)||Punicaceae||Main|
|Ricinus communis (castor bean)||Euphorbiaceae||Main|
|Sorghum bicolor (sorghum)||Poaceae||Main|
|Syzygium paniculatum (australian brush-cherry)||Myrtaceae||Other|
|Syzygium samarangense (water apple)||Myrtaceae||Other|
|Zea mays (maize)||Poaceae||Main|
Growth StagesTop of page Fruiting stage
SymptomsTop of page Symptoms vary according to host. On oranges there is sometimes a scar on the fruit surface, on most other crops, the habit of internal feeding leaves few symptoms.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Fruit / internal feeding|
|Leaves / internal feeding|
|Seeds / internal feeding|
Biology and EcologyTop of page The female moth lays 100-400 eggs by night, usually singly on the bolls or fruits of the plant. On citrus the young larva mines just beneath the surface, or bores into the pith causing premature ripening of the fruit. On cotton it first mines the boll wall, but later transfers to the seeds.
When full grown the larva descends to the ground on a silken thread and spins a tough silken cocoon in the soil or amongst debris. The development time for each stage varies considerably with temperature, details are given by Daiber (1980) who states that in South Africa five generations per year could be achieved by the moth. There is no diapause.
The adult is nocturnal and is attracted to light. The mating behaviour is highly developed and was investigated by Zagatti and Castel (1987), it relates to three androconial areas on the male.
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Trichogrammatoidea cryptophlebiae||Parasite||Eggs||South Africa||Citrus|
|Trichogrammatoidea fulva||Parasite||Eggs||Mauritius||Litchi chinensis|
|Trichogrammatoidea lutea||Parasite||Eggs||South Africa|
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx||larvae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Fruits (inc. pods)||larvae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
ImpactTop of page This moth is a serious pest of citrus in Southern Africa and of cotton in many parts of Africa. It also affects maize in West Africa. In South Africa, citrus crop losses of 10-20% are common (Glas, 1991). Reed (1974) described losses of between 42 and 90% in late crops of cotton in Uganda. It has also become a significant pest of macadamia in Israel (Wysoki, 1986). Blomefield (1989) reported losses of up to 28% in a late peach crop in South Africa. Begemann and Schoeman (1999) calculated citrus crop loss in South Africa specifically due to T. leucotreta was 1.6% in Navels and 0.3% in Valencias.
Detection and InspectionTop of page These will vary according to the crop affected. On oranges look for a brown patch on the skin, usually with evidence of a hole bored in the centre, sometimes with dark brown frass exuding.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page In West Africa, T. leucotreta is often found in conjunction with the pyralid moth Mussidia nigrevenella. Differences between the larvae are given by Silvie (1990) and Moyal and Tran (1989).
Prevention and ControlTop of page Introduction
Control is difficult because the moth has many alternative hosts so reinfestation is likely to occur.
Reed (1974) and Byaruhanga and De Lima (1977) showed that late sown crops of cotton in Uganda are worst affected, but the difference is not great. As T. leucotreta is primarily a fruit feeder, it is suggested by Glas (1991) that crops of cotton grown close to fruit trees may be less affected. In areas with a prolonged dry season the moth, which needs a continual source of food, is less likely to reach pest proportions, conversely irrigation allows populations to build up to levels which cause damage.
Parasitoids of T. leucotreta have been identified, and mass release of Trichogrammoidea spp. has been practised with effect (Newton and Odendaal, 1990) but is unlikely to be cost effective.
Fritsch (1988) reported on the successful use of a granulosis virus, which has been further identified by Jehle and Backhaus (1994). The use of pathogens was reviewed by Moore (2002). Jehle et al. (2003) examined the results of combining two genotypes of the virus.
The larva gains some protection from insecticides by living within a fruit or boll Although insecticides have often been used in the past, they seldom control populations effectively. Chitin inhibitors (Newton, 1987) are more likely to be effective.
Hofmeyr and Burger (1995) describe a pheromone disperser whilst Newton et al. (1993) identify the compound. Pheromones have been much used for mating disruption of this species and constitute one of the most targeted control methods.
ReferencesTop of page
Begemann GJ, Schoeman AS, 1999. The phenology of Helicoverpa armigera (Hnbner) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), Tortrix capensana (Walker) and Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) on citrus at Zebediela, South Africa. African Entomology, 7(1):131-148; 33 ref
Byaruhanga EK, 1977. Manipulation of sowing dates of cotton for the control of Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyrick). In: Lima CPFDe, ed. De Lima, C. P. F. : Advances in medical, veterinary and agricultural entomology in eastern Africa. Proceedings of the 1st E.A. Conference on Entomology and Pest Control, December 6-10, 1976, Nairobi, Kenya. East African Literature Bureau. Nairobi Kenya, 73-75
Carpenter J, Bloem S, Hofmeyr H, 2007. Area-wide control tactics for the false codling moth Thaumatotibia leucotreta in South Africa: a potential invasive species. In: Area-wide control of insect pests: from research to field implementation [ed. by Vreysen MJB, Robinson AS, Hendrichs J] Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer SBM, 351-359
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
EPPO, 2018. EPPO Global Database (available online). https://gd.eppo.int
Fritsch E, 1988. Biological control of the false codling moth, Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lep., Tortricidae), with a granulosis virus. Mitteilungen der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Allgemeine und Angewandte Entomologie, 6(1-3):280-283
Gilligan TM, Epstein ME, Hoffman KM, 2011. Discovery of false codling moth, Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick), in California (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington, 113(4):426-435. http://apt.allenpress.com/aptonline/?request=get-archive&issn=0013-8797
Glas M, 1991. Tortricids in miscellaneous crops. In: van der Geest, van Luis, eds. Tortricoid Pests, Their Biology, Natural Enemies and Control. World Crop Pests: 5. UK: Elsevier
Grové, T., de Jager, K., Theledi, M. L., 2019. Fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) and Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) associated with fruit of the family Myrtaceae Juss. in South Africa. Crop Protection, 116, 24-32.
IPPC, 2014. Finding of one larva and three adults of Thaumatotibia leucotreta in one fruit production greenhouse of Capsicum annuum (bell peppers). IPPC Official Pest Report, No. NLD-26/1. Rome, Italy: FAO. https://www.ippc.int/
Jehle JA, Fritsch E, Huber J, Backhaus H, 2003. Intra-specific and inter-specific recombination of tortricid-specific granuloviruses during co-infection in insect larvae. Archives of Virology, 148: 1317-1333
Komai F, 1999. A taxonomic review of the genus Grapholita and allied genera (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) in the Palaearctic region. Entomologica Scandinavica Supplement No. 55
Malan AP, Knoetze R, Moore SD, 2011. Isolation and identification of entomopathogenic nematodes from citrus orchards in South Africa and their biocontrol potential against false codling moth. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology, 108(2):115-125. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022201111001571
Mazza G, Strangi A, Marianelli L, Nista Ddel, Roversi PF, 2014. Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera Tortricidae) intercepted for the first time in Italy. Redia, 97:147-149. http://www.redia.it
Moore SD, 2002. Entomopathogens & microbial control of citrus pests in South Africa: a review. SA Fruit Journal, 1: 30-32
Moyal P, Tran M, 1989. Morphological study of the pre-imaginal instars of lepidopterous borers of maize in the savannah area of Ivory Coast. Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France, 25(4):461-472
NAPPO, 2016. Phytosanitary Alert System: Corrected Status of 2008 Thaumatotibia leucotreta (False Codling Moth) detection in the United States. NAPPO. http://www.pestalert.org/oprDetail.cfm?oprID=681
Newton PJ, Odendaal WJ, 1990. Commercial inundative releases of Trichogrammatoidea cryptophlebip (Hym: Trichogrammatidae) against Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Lep.: Tortricidae) in citrus. Entomophaga, 35(4):545-556
Newton PJ, Thomas CD, Mastro VC, Schwalbe CP, 1993. Improved two-component blend of the synthetic female sex pheromone of Cryptophlebia leucotreta, and identification of an attractant for C. peltastica. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 66(1):75-82
Timm AE, Warnich L, Geertsema H, 2007. Morphological and molecular identification of economically important Tortricidae (Lepidoptera) on tropical and subtropical fruit in South Africa. African Entomology, 15(2):269-286. http://journals.sabinet.co.za/essa
Timm AE, Warnich L, Geertsema H, 2008. Morphological and molecular identification of economically important Tortricidae (Lepidoptera) on deciduous fruit tree crops in South Africa. African Entomology, 16(2):209-219. http://journals.sabinet.co.za/essa
Zagatti P, Castel Y, 1987. Courtship behaviour of the false codling moth, Cryptophlebia leucotreta (Meyrick): androconial display and mating success (Lepidoptera, Tortricidae). Annales de la Societe Entomologique de France, 23(2):113-123
Distribution MapsTop of page
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