Depressaria depressana (F.) - Purple Carrot-seed Moth

Systematic position.

Class Insecta, order Lepidoptera, superfamily Gelechioidea, family Depressariidae, subfamily Depressariinae, genus Depressaria. According to A.L.L'vovskii (2001, 2004), the genus Depressaria includes 109 palaearctic species, of which 63 ones are known from the former USSR, that cannot be surely identified by attributes of external body structures only. According to the last information, 7 species [D. depressana, D. daucella (D. et Schiff.), D. albipunctella (D. et Schiff.), D. douglasella Lv., D. heraclei (Retzius), D. marcella Rebel, D. pulcherrimella St.] feed on carrot, being, most likely, referred to the Purple Carrot-seed Moth in the applied literature. Caraway is damaged by 5 species [D. depressana, D. daucella, D. douglasella, D. heraclei (Retzius) and D. ululana Rossler] being, probably, referred to D. daucella in the applied literature. Other cultural umbelliferous plants, probably, are also damaged by a complex of species, taxonomically related to the Purple Carrot-seed Moth.


Depressaria depressella F., Depressaria rhodochlora M.

Biological group.

Pest of seed crops of umbelliferous cultures.

Morphology and biology.

Fore wings brown, with a mixture of a few albesent scales; usually lighter (reddish-brown) at costal margin (wingspan 13-19 mm.). Hind wings gray. Head and pronotum pale yellow. Moths differ from close species in coloration of fore wings, but being reliably distinguished by male genitalia. Egg 0.5 mm in size, oval, pale-greenish in the beginning, later light-orange. Caterpillar 10-13 mm in length, brown, with reddish tint, greenish between segments. Its head, prothoracic and anal shields, thoracic legs are black. The body is densely covered with white shields bearing one or two hairs. Pupa is 5-8 mm in length, in the beginning chartreuse, later reddish-brown. Abdominal apex bears 26 thick hooked setae. Imago winters in cracks of building and fences and in others shelters. Female lays eggs on inflorescences of umbellate plants one by one or by batches of 3-11 eggs, in all more than 300 eggs, which develop 4-7 days. Several caterpillars occur in one inflorescence quite often. Pupation occurs in web cocoons in places of feeding. Development of caterpillars lasts 2-3 weeks; pupae develop 7-10 days.


Almost all Europe; also Northern Africa, Middle East, Iran, Mongolia. In the former USSR, the species is distributed in the European part everywhere except for the Far North, in the Northern Caucasus and Transcaucasia (Georgia, Armenia), in Kazakhstan, Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan), in the south of Siberia (Tomsk, Novosibirsk Regions and Altai Territory), in the Russian Far East (Primorskii Territory).


Monovoltine in the North and in the Middle strip of the European part, bivoltine in the Northern Caucasus, to 3 generations in the south of Ukraine. Overwintered mothsappear at the end of May - in the beginning of June. In the Middle strip, oviposition coincides with the period of budding in seed crops. The caterpillars appear in the second half of June in Ukraine, in July - August in the Far East. Moths of the summer generation appear in August or in the beginning of September, flying to late autumn.

Economic significance.

The quantitative data on the Purple Carrot-seed Moth harming activity are rather poor, belonging mainly to a southern half of the European part of the former USSR and to Transcaucasia. Caterpillars sometimes essentially damage seed crops before flowering of such umbellate plants, as coriander, dill, carrot, anise, fennel, caraway, cumin (Cuminum cyminum), celery, parsley, parsnip, cow-parsnip, etc. They eat unripe seeds, gnawing through flower pedicles and eating round buds and flowers, braiding inflorescences with a web (often binding several beams of umbel). Lacking for flowers and seeds, the caterpillars eat leaves. Among the above-listed cultures, carrots and coriander occupy economically significant areas of arable land. In some years, the yield of coriander seeds in the Voronezh Region was reduced by 50%. There were reports from the central regions of the European part, from Novosibirsk Region and Primorskii Territory about the Purple Carrot-seed Moth harming activity on dill, parsnip, and other umbellate cultures growing in small holdings everywhere in the former USSR. Control measures are as follows. Agronomical ones include mowing wild umbellate plants (especially cow-parsnip) growing near to seed plantations of carrots and other umbellates; additional fertilizing of plants by nitrogenous fertilizers; duly harvesting and fast threshing of seeds of umbellate cultures. Chemical ones include insecticide treatments of seed plots after mass flight of moths and at appearance of caterpillars.

Reference citations:

Grivanov K.P. & Zakharov L.Z. 1958. Pests of field cultures in the Southeast. Saratov: Saratov Publishing House, 234 p. (in Russian).
Khotin A.A. & Shul.gin G.T., eds. 1963. Aromatic cultures. Moscow: Izdatel.stvo sel.skokhozyaistvennoi literatury, zhurnalov i plakatov, 358 p. (in Russian).
L.vovskii A.L. 1982. Oecophoridae. In: Kopaneva L.M., ed. Key to harmful and useful insects and mites of vegetable cultures and potato in the USSR. Leningrad: Kolos: 114-115 (in Russian).
L.vovskii A.L. 1994. Oecophoridae. In: Kuznetsov V.I., ed. Insects and mites - pests of agricultural plants. V. 3(1). Lepidoptera. St.Petersburg: Nauka, p. 292-301 (in Russian).
L.vovskii A.L. 2001. Review of the genus Depressaria Haworth, 1811 (Lepidoptera, Depressariidae) of Russia and adjacent countries. I. Entomologicheskoe obozrenie 80(3): 680-705 (in Russian).
L.vovskii A.L. 2004. Review of the genus Depressaria Haworth, 1811 (Lepidoptera, Depressariidae) of Russia and adjacent countries. II. Entomologicheskoe obozrenie 83(1): 190-213 (in Russian).
Mamaev K.A., Lenskii G.K. & Soboleva V.P. 1976. Control of pests and diseases of fruit, berry and vegetable cultures. Moscow: Kolos, 207 p. (in Russian).
Sakharov N.L. 1947. Harmful insects of lower Volga area. Saratov: OGIZ, 423 p. (in Russian).
Samersov V.F., ed. 1998. Integrated systems of plant protection from pests, diseases and weeds (Recommendations). Baranovichi: Bel NIIZR, 476 p. (in Russian).
Sovins.kii V.V. 1938. Tineidae, s. lat. (Lepidoptera) of central part of Kyiv Region. In: Shmal.gauzen I.I., ed. Collection of works of Zoological Museum, no. 21-22. Kiiv: Vidavnitstvo Akademii nauk URSR, p. 3-95 (in Ukrainian).
Vasil.ev V.P. 1974. Family Gelechiidae. In: Vasil.ev V.P., ed. Pests of agricultural crops and forest plantations. V.2. Arthropods. Kiev: Urozhai, p. 257-261 (in Russian).
Vyangelyaukaite A.P., Zhuklene R.M., Piletskis S.A. & Ryapshene D.K. 1989. Pests and diseases of vegetable crops. Hand-book. Moscow: Agropromizdat, 461 p. (in Russian).

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