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What is

Light brown apple moth

    The Light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) (Walker) is a leafroller moth belonging to the Lepidopteran family Tortricidae


    Adult moths

    Lightbrown apple moth adults are variable in colour and may be confused with other leafroller moths Typical males have a forewing length of 6-10 mm with a light brown area at the base distinguishable from a much darker redbrown area at the tip The latter may be absent the moth appearing uniformly light brown as in the females with only slightly darker oblique markings distinguishing the area at the tip of the wing Females have a forewing length of 7-13 mm


    Pupae are at first green but become medium brown after rapidly hardening Female pupae are generally larger than male pupae


    Larvae are not easily distinguished from the larvae of other tortricid leafrollersThe first larval instar has a dark brown head; all other instars have a light fawn head and prothoracic plate Overwintering larvae are darker First instar larvae are approximately 1.6 mm long and final instar larvae range from 10 to 18 mm in length The body of a mature larva is medium green with a darker green central stripe and two side stripes


    The light brown apple moth is a native insect of Australia It has been introduced and now occurs in New Caledonia the British Isles and Hawaii Western Australia and New Zealand


    Lightbrown apple moth passes through three generations annually in the central New Zealand region with a partial fourth generation in some years and has no winter resting stage There is considerable overlap in the generationsIn Auckland and northwards four generations are completed annually with major flight periods occurring during September-October December-January February-March and April-May In Southland the number of complete generations may be reduced to two during prevailing inclement climatic conditionsEggs are laid in clusters of 3-150 on leaves or fruit Adults produced by the overwintering larval generation emerge during October and November These give rise to the first summer generation in which final instar larvae mature between January and mid February Second generation larvae reach maturity during March and April and the adults from this generation provide third generation eggs Normally the rate of larval development is slowed considerably during the winter; thus the majority of larvae over-winter in the prolonged early juvenile phases of the second third and fourth instars During this period they normally feed on herbacious plants Re-invasion of apple trees takes place during October-December when moths of the third generation start laying eggs again on the apple leaves

    Diet and Damage

    The insect is highly polyphagus and the larvae attack numerous horticultural crops in Australia and New Zealand It is known to feed on 123 dicotyledonous plant species including 22 Australian natives belonging to 55 different families In New Zealand over 250 host species have been recorded It attacks nearly all types of fruit crops ornamentals vegetables glasshouse crops and occassionally young pine seedlingsThe larvae cause damage to foliage and fruit Early instars feed on tissue beneath the upper epidermis layer of leaves while protected under self-constructed silken webs on the undersurface of leaves Larger larvae migrate from these positions to construct feeding niches between adjacent leaves between a leaf and a fruit in the developing bud or on a single leaf where the "topical" leaf roll develops The late stage larvae feed on all leaf tissue except main veinsSuperficial fruit damage is common in apple varieties which form compact fruit clusters Leaves are webbed to the fruit and feeding injury takes place under the protection of the leaf; or larvae spin up between fruits of a cluster Internal damage to apple pear and citrus fruits is less common but a young larva may enter the interior of an apple or pear fruit through the calyx or beneath the stem of a citrus fruit Excreta are usually ejected on to the outside of the fruit


    The species has been classified as a noxious insect in the United States and Canada leading to restrictions on produce from counties with substantial populations