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Sparganothis fruitworm

Sparganothis sulfureana Clemens
Lepidoptera: Tortricidae

Adult is a vivid yellow moth with grayish magenta V-shaped marks on the forewings (which form an "X" when folded) and reddish orange lace-like markings (A). Larvae are pale green with yellowish-green head (B).


S. sulfureana: NS to ON and south at least to NY and NJ.


Attacks apples and overwinters as early stage larva in the orchard ground cover, feeding in early spring on low growth under trees. Adults lay eggs on apple leaves in early summer; larvae feed on foliage until midsummer. After a second flight, larvae may feed on fruit in late summer causing pinhole or excavation damage (C).

Similar Species

Compare to variegated leafroller (Platynota flavedana Clemens). Larvae of both species are pale green with yellowish-green, but in the Sparganothis fruitworm, the dorsal side is a darker green than the ventral side, and the thoracic shield is narrowly edged with dark brown; antennae are black, borne on a white socket.


Generally a problem only in selected sites. Can be monitored using pheromone traps, but summer leaf inspection is recommended to determine severity. Economic infestations can be controlled by the use of selective (e.g., Bacillus thuringiensis) or broad-spectrum insecticides.

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