Massachusetts
Introduced Pests Outreach Project

Light Brown Apple Moth

Pest Alert: Light brown apple moth in California (click here for more information)

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Scientific Name: Epiphyas postvittana
Common Name: Light Brown Apple Moth

Known Hosts:
This moth is reported to feed and develop on more than 200 plant species in 120 plant genera in 50 families. Hosts include fruits (apples, blueberry, peach, pear, strawberry, grapes, citrus), broadleaved weeds (plantain), vegetables (cabbage, corn, pepper, tomatoes), trees oak, willow, poplar, walnut) and ornamentals (roses, chrysanthemums, dahlia). See the E. postvittana mini risk assessment for a full list of host plants: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/pest_detection/downloads/pra/epostvittanapra.pdf

Key ID Features and Life Cycle:
The light brown apple moth has up to 4 generations per year in its native range, Australia.
Females have a wingspan of about 2 cm. The forewings are a yellowish-brown color with markings that are less distinct than in the male moth. (Figure 1)
Males are much smaller than females. The forewings of the male are yellowish-brown at the base of the wing with darker, red-brown markings towards the tip. Markings can be quite variable. (Figure 1)
Eggs are flattened and laid in groups on the upper surface of leaves. (Figure 2)
Young larvae are tiny (a few mm long) with a yellow-green body and brown head. Larvae are 10- 18 mm in length at maturity and green in color. (Figure 3)

Description of damage:

Caterpillars may damage the plant by feeding on the leaves, buds, shoots, and fruit.

Larvae construct silken shelters to feed under (Figure 4). Older larvae roll together  leaves and buds. (Figure 5)
Damage to the fruit has the greatest economic impact. Larval feeding on the fruit causes irregular brown areas on the fruit surface. Larvae sometimes enter the fruit to feed.

Similar species or symptoms:
Other native tortricid moths such as redbanded leafroller and the obliquebanded leafroller are known to attack apples. See the following sources for more information on apple pests:
New England Pest Management Guide for Apples
http://www.umass.edu/fruitadvisor/NEAPMG/index.htm
Redbanded Leafroller (Argyrotaenia veultinana)
Michigan State Extension Factsheet http://web1.msue.msu.edu/vanburen/fredband.htm
Obliquebanded Leafroller (Choristoneura rosaceana)
Michigan State Extension Factsheet http://web1.msue.msu.edu/vanburen/oblr.htm

Fact sheets and references:
Light brown apple moth project: California Department of Agriculture
http://www.cdfa.ca.gov/phpps/pdep/lbam/lbam_main.html

Light brown apple moth: USDA, APHIS Plant Health
http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/lba_moth/index.shtml

Light brown apple moth pest alert from Oregon Department of Agriculture
http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PLANT/docs/pdf/ippm_lbam_flyer07.pdf

R.C Venette, E. E. Davis, M. DaCosta, H. Heisler, and. M Larson. 2003. Mini Risk Assessment Light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae]. http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/pest_detection/downloads/pra/epostvittanapra.pdf

Light brown apple moth page from Totricid.net
http://www.tortricidae.com/lbam.asp

Light Brown Apple Moth in Orchards- Department of Primary Industries, Victoria, Australia
http://www.dpi.vic.gov.au/dpi/nreninf.nsf/9e58661e880ba9e44a256c640023eb2e/83d05641197ae4adca256f0f0020f3f0/$FILE/ag0093.pdf

Light Brown Apple Moth in Citrus- Department of Primary Industries, New South Wales, Australia
http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/horticulture/citrus/health/pests/light-brown-apple-moth-citrus

Lightbrown apple moth Description from HortNET (The Horticulture and Food Research Institute of New Zealand)
http://www.hortnet.co.nz/key/keys/info/lifecycl/lba-desc.htm

Meijerman L and SA Ulenberg. 2000. Epiphyas postvittana in Arthropods of Economic Importance: Eurasian Tortricidae.
http://ip30.eti.uva.nl/bis/tortricidae.php?menuentry=soorten&id=197

last reviewed February 26, 2008


Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.