Epichoristodes acerbella (South African carnation tortrix)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- 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
- Epichoristodes acerbella (Walker)
Preferred Common Name
- South African carnation tortrix
Other Scientific Names
- Depressaria acerbella Walker, 1864
- Epichorista acerbella Walker
- Epichorista ionephela (Meyr.)
- Epichoristodes ionephela (Meyrick)
- Epychoristodes acerbella
- Proselena ionephela Meyrick, 1909
- Tortrix iocoma Meyrick, 1908
- Tubula acerbella Walker
International Common Names
- English: carnation worm; South African leaf-roller
- Spanish: minador Sudafricano del clavel
- French: tordeuse Sud-Africaine de l'oeillet
Local Common Names
- Denmark: Sydafrikansk nellikevikler
- Germany: Südafrikanischer Nelkenwickler; Wickler, Suedafrikanischer Nelken-
- Norway: Afrikansk nellikvikler
- Sweden: Afrikansk nejlikvecklare
- EPIOIO (Epichoristodes acerbella)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Lepidoptera
- Family: Tortricidae
- Genus: Epichoristodes
- Species: Epichoristodes acerbella
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page The species was first described as Depressaria acerbella by Walker in 1864 from the Cape, South Africa. It has also been described as Proselena ionephela by Meyrick in 1909 from South Africa and Madagascar and as Tortrix iocoma, also by Meyrick in 1908 from Transvaal. It was placed in Epichoristodes by Diakonoff (1960).
DescriptionTop of page Eggs
Light green and laid in ooplaques of 1-1.5 cm.
Reaching 1.75 cm in length, body green with a darker line on the dorsal surface and two lateral yellow lines, head dark brown; moves very quickly. Larvae of Cacoecimorpha pronubana (EPPO/CABI, 1996) are distinguished by being uniformly yellowish-green.
14-24 mm wingspan; light-ochre forewings, often with a darker band towards the distal edge; greyish-white hindwings (which distinguishes this species from C. pronubana in which the hindwings are orange-red).
Means of movement/dispersal
Adult flight is responsible only for local dispersal. In international trade, the pest is liable to be carried, in any of its stages, on plants and cut flowers of carnations, chrysanthemums, pelargoniums and roses.
DistributionTop of page E. acerbella is indigenous to South Africa and was first found in the EPPO region in the mid-1960s (in glasshouses in Scandinavian countries). Eradicated there, it later appeared in Italy (1971) and other Mediterranean countries. It has been recorded from France, Italy, Croatia and Spain. It has been recorded in Africa from Kenya, Madagascar, South Africa and Zimbabwe. It is possible that it has a larger distribution in Eastern Africa (Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and maybe the Southern part of the democratic republic of Congo).
Distribution TableTop of page
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|South Africa||Present, Few occurrences||EPPO (2020)|
|Zimbabwe||Absent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)||EPPO (2020)|
|Austria||Absent, Eradicated||Bauer (1976); EPPO (2020)|
|Croatia||Present, Localized||EPPO (2020)|
|France||Present, Widespread||EPPO (2020)|
|Germany||Absent, Intercepted only||EPPO (2020)|
|Italy||Present, Localized||1971||Baraldi and Baraldi (1996); EPPO (2020)|
|Netherlands||Absent, Intercepted only||EPPO (2020)|
|Norway||Absent, Eradicated||EPPO (2020)|
|Serbia||Present||Glavendekić (2006); EPPO (2020)|
|Slovenia||Present||Glavendekić (2006); EPPO (2020)|
|Spain||Present, Few occurrences||1976||EPPO (2020); CABI (Undated)|
|United Kingdom||Absent, Intercepted only||EPPO (2020)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page E. acerbella has A2 quarantine pest status for EPPO (OEPP/EPPO, 1980). It is not, however, listed as a quarantine pest by other regional plant protection organizations. In view of its polyphagous nature, E. acerbella does present a certain threat, especially in warmer areas of the EPPO region where it can survive and multiply outdoors. For more information, see Aguilar and Deportes (1974). It may be noted that the distribution of E. acerbella in the EPPO region has remained stable for some time. The pest is possibly more likely to establish in other Mediterranean countries than in the northern European countries which mainly import material of carnations.
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page E. acerbella is a polyphagous pest on a range of crops but its principal hosts are carnations and chrysanthemums. It has been recorded from the following plant species: Dianthus caryophyllus, Chrysanthemum x morifoilium, Pelargonium, Prunus, Medicago sativa, Fragaria chiloensis, Fragaria ananassa and Rosa. It also feeds upon Sonchus, Erigeron, Arctotheca and Raphanus raphanistrum.
In addition there are a number of wild host plants including Rumex, Rhamnus and Oxalis.
Host Plants and Other Plants AffectedTop of page
|Chrysanthemum morifolium (chrysanthemum (florists'))||Asteraceae||Main|
|Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation)||Caryophyllaceae||Main|
|Fragaria ananassa (strawberry)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Fragaria chiloensis (Chilean strawberry)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Medicago sativa (lucerne)||Fabaceae||Main|
|Oxalis (wood sorrels)||Oxalidaceae||Wild host|
|Prunus (stone fruit)||Rosaceae||Main|
|Raphanus raphanistrum (wild radish)||Brassicaceae||Other|
|Rumex (Dock)||Polygonaceae||Wild host|
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Post-harvest, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page On carnation cuttings
Young leaves are perforated and wilt and, more typically, stems are mined; flower buds are also perforated, become desiccated and petals are often woven together by silk. Greenish larval excreta may be found in and on affected stem tissues.
The larvae mine only the leaves and do not enter the stem. For more information, see Zangheri and Cavalloro (1971), Nuzzaci (1973), Aguilar and Deportes (1974) and Sola (1974).
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Inflorescence / external feeding|
|Inflorescence / frass visible|
|Inflorescence / internal feeding|
|Inflorescence / webbing|
|Leaves / external feeding|
|Leaves / frass visible|
|Leaves / internal feeding|
|Leaves / leaves rolled or folded|
|Leaves / webbing|
|Stems / internal feeding|
|Stems / visible frass|
|Whole plant / external feeding|
|Whole plant / frass visible|
|Whole plant / internal feeding|
Biology and EcologyTop of page In Italy and France, E. acerbella has four generations in the field between April and October, and five to six generations in the glasshouse; in the latter case, generations are difficult to distinguish since all stages are present for most of the year. The threshold of development is about 6°C, but larvae (the overwintering stage) are able to withstand lower temperatures. Females begin to oviposit about 24 h after mating, and each lays 200-240 eggs on the upper surface of carnation leaves, in batches over a period of 3 days. Males live for about 10 days and females 12 days producing approximately 440 eggs (Anon.,1997) Eggs hatch after 10 days or so, and larvae feed, under a shelter of silk, first on the leaves; they later attack the flower buds and mine the stems. At a constant temperature of 7°C, hatching will not occur, but larvae can survive more than 300 days under these conditions, although they will not show any further development. Larvae (except the first-instar larvae) can survive temperatures as low as 0.5°C for 3-9 days (Quaglia and Davidson, 1983). Pupation takes place after about 30 days and the pupal stage lasts 8 days. At 11 and 17°C, development from egg to adult takes 170 and 70 days, respectively. At 13-25°C (average 20°C), total development lasts 40 days. Temperature also the lifespan of the moth. Experiments in Spain (Gabarra et al., 1986) showed that at a temperature of 15°C lifespan was longest at 28.5 days while at 30°C it was shortest at 11.5 days. For additional information, see Zangheri and Cavalloro (1971), Nuzzaci (1973) and Sola (1974).
Natural enemiesTop of page
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||adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Leaves||adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches||adults; eggs; larvae; nymphs; pupae||Yes||Yes||Pest or symptoms usually visible to the naked eye|
Detection and InspectionTop of page The leaves and stems should be inspected for perforation and mining (stems) Flowers become desiccated and petals are often woven together by silk. Larval droppings are greenish.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page Tortricids of this group may be easily confused, to confirm identification, a genitalia slide of the adult moths should be made.
This species can easily be confused with Cacoecimorpha pronubana which has orange-red hindwings compared with the greyish-white hindwings of E. acerbella.
Larvae of C. pronubana (EPPO/CABI, 1996) are distinguished by being uniformly yellowish-green compared with the green larva of E. acerbella.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.
Control of E. acerbella has been reported as possible by using pyrethroids, such as cypermethrin or fenvalerate (Bene, 1983).
Methods or antagonistic organisms suitable for biological control have not yet been investigated.
E. acerbella can be monitored by pheromone traps, but experiments on control by mating disruption or disorientation caused by pheromones showed no consistent results (Bene and Rumine, 1984; Capizzi et al., 1987).
Experimental research on the use of direct ionizing radiation to control insect pests on cut flowers has given very promising results in Italy (Baraldi, 1996).
In countries where E. acerbella occurs, nursery inspections should be carried out during the growing season prior to dispatch. The consignment should come from a place of production that has been found free from E. acerbella during the last growing season (OEPP/EPPO, 1990). Cuttings should be examined for perforations in the leaves and, in particular, for signs of mining in the stem tips. Flowers and flower buds should be inspected for silken webs, and packaging material for larval excrement.
ReferencesTop of page
Baraldi D, 1996. Irraggiamento di prodotti floricoli da esportazione. Informatore Fitopatologico, 46 (5):20-24.
Diakonoff A, 1960. Tortricidae from Madagascar Part 1, Tortricinae and Chlidanotinae. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen, Afd. Natuurkunde (Tweede Reeks) 53(2):1-209.
EPPO, 1990. Specific quarantine requirements. EPPO Technical Documents, No. 1008. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization.
EPPO, 2014. PQR database. Paris, France: European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. http://www.eppo.int/DATABASES/pqr/pqr.htm
Gabarra R; Buisan A; Avilla J; Albajes R, 1986. Longevity, fecundity and egg hatching of Epichoristodes acerbella under constant temperatures (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). Entomologia Generalis, 12(1):45-50
Glavendekic M, 2006. Epichoristodes acerbella (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): a new species in the fauna of Serbia. Acta Entomologica Serbica, 11(1/2):77-81. http://www.bio.bg.ac.yu/eds/acta/index.html
Smith IM; McNamara DG; Scott PR; Holderness M, 1997. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. Quarantine pests for Europe. Second Edition. Data sheets on quarantine pests for the European Union and for the European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization., Ed. 2:vii + 1425 pp.; many ref.
Baraldi D, Baraldi G, 1996. Ornamental frond and foliage plants: agronomic, commercial and phytosanitary aspects. (Verde da fronda e fogliame ornamentale: aspetti agronomici, commerciali e fitosanitari.). Informatore Fitopatologico. 46 (12), 17-19.
CABI, Undated. Compendium record. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Distribution MapsTop of page
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