Leafroller or Tortrix Caterpillar

Tortricidae family

Family: - Tortricidae

Order: - Lepidoptera



Colour - Variable, browns, yellows, reds, greens, oranges, often with blotches.

Body - Small. Stout with long hair scales.

Wings - 2 Pairs. Membranous. Hairy

Broad, Wing-span up to 180mm in some species.

Mouthparts - Naked proboscis.

Antennae - 3 segments. Filiform (Finely hair like).

Legs - Broad overlapping scales. Feet (Tarsi) have 5 segments.

Head - Broad overlapping scales. Large rounded compound eyes.

Thorax - Broad overlapping scales. 3 segments. Front segment much smaller. Hairy

Abdomen - Broad overlapping scales. 7-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1-7. Hairy

Egg - Flat. Scale like. May be laid singly or in batches with the eggs overlapping each other.

Habits - Can't fly when cold. Most produce pheromones.

Caterpillar -



Body - Has tufts stiff bristles which will penetrate and irritate the skin if handled. Bristles stick out of stout, silken cocoon case also, providing similar protection. 10-30mm long, 5-10mm wide.

Mouthparts - Chewing.

Antennae - Short. 3 segments.

Legs - 5 segments. Single claw on end.

Head - Hard.

Thorax - 10-11 segments. Spiracles on segments 1 to 8. Prolegs on segments 3, 6 and 10. Hard pro-thoracic shield.

Abdomen -

Habits - Feed during day. Herbivorous. Join leaves and shoots or tunnel into flower spikes, fruit, stems or galls.

Pupa has 2 rows of spines across its back. Usually in shelter made by larva.


Life Cycle:


Origin and History:



Caterpillars of this family feed attack avocado, banksia flower spikes, bursaria, callistemon, cotton, eucalypts, hibbertia, lucerne, mallows, melaleuca and mistletoe. These often feed between joined living leaves.

Some bore into the nuts of macadamias and the stems of cyperaceae and Juncaceae.

Australian light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) feed on a wide range of introduced and native species.

Codling moth (Cydia pomonella) is a serious pest of pome fruits (apples and pears) and Oriental fruit moth (Grapholita molesta) attacks stone fruit.

Epinotia lantana has been introduced to help control lantana weed.

Management and Control:

Potential for control using synthetic pheromones.

Related Species:

Similar Species:


CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991) p54, 182, 251, 819f41.3, 823f41.8genitals, 826f41.10head, 827f41.11larva,829eggs, 870, 871f41.7a-h, 872f41.48Wings, 873, 874, 961, 962, 969.


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