Sparganothis pilleriana Den. et Schiff. - Grape Leafroller, Vine Tortrix Moth, Long-Palpi Tortrix, Leaf-Rolling Tortrix

Systematic position.

Class Insecta, order Lepidoptera, family Tortricidae, subfamily Tortricinae, genus Sparganothis.

Biological group.

Polyphagous insect pest

Morphology and biology.

Body length reaches 10-15 mm, wingspan 18-25 mm. Forewing ochre-yellow or golden-greenish, with grayish-brown pattern including spots and bands of specific width and position. Sometimes the pattern is fuzzy or absent. Hind-wing is brownish-gray. Labial palps are very long, exceeding twice the diameter of head. Eggs are flat, oval, laid in batches of 5 to 175 (55 on the average) in a batch, covered with stark foamy excretions of female. In the beginning the batch is yellowish-green, and then it becomes citreous, and later orange-yellow. Length of mature larva is 18-30 mm; it is greenish-gray or dirty-green (lighter beneath); head and pro-thorax are dark brown. Pupa are 9-18 mm long, at first emerald green, then becoming bright or dark brownish. As a rule there is a single generation produced; in Transcaucasia sometimes two generations occur per year. Usually 1st instar larvae do not eat after hatching but over-winters in thin but dense silky cocoons inside bark crevices, on plant residues, or in a surface layer of soil to depths of 10 cm. Depending on temperature, the development of egg lasts 9-20 days, that of larva after spring reactivation, 30-50 days, that of pupa 10-15 days. Life span of adult is to 22 days; average fecundity is about 200-250 (maximum 450) eggs.


Grape Leaf roller is spread throughout zones of deciduous forest, forest-steppe and steppe of Palearctic from the south of England and the Atlantic coast of Europe to Primorskii Territory, Sakhalin, Kuril Islands and Japan in the east, and in North and Central America. Boreal border of geographic range goes through the south of Sweden, Holland, Denmark, Germany and Poland (Kostyuk, 1980). For territories of the former USSR boreal border has not been determined yet for certain; the established points of presence are known only for Moldova, Krasnodar Area, Dagestan, Astrakhan and Orenburg Regions, Tartaria, and Bashkiria (Kostyuk, 1980) with obvious spreading of the species far northward.
Species is distributed throughout middle and southern areas of the European part of the USSR, North Caucasus, Transcaucasia, Ural, Kazakhstan, Central Asia, the south of Siberia, Amur Region, Primorskii Territory, southern Kuril Islands, Kamchatka. It is also distributed throughout Western Europe (northward to Sweden), North Africa, Asia Minor, Iran, Iraq, Mongolia, China, Korea, Japan, North and Central America.


The larva withdrawal from diapause begins after reaching 200-210° degree days at daily average temperature 10-15°C, which occurs in the European part at the end of April and the beginning of May, and in Transcaucasia, at the end of March, usually coinciding with bud swelling and blossoming and with growth of young leaves on trees and shrubs. Appearance of larvae from winter shelters lasts about 25-30 days; such prolonged withdrawal is caused by temporal downturns of temperature, which are always observed during spring, and also by non-uniform warmth exposure from sunshine in places where larva winter. In the very beginning the larvae eat buds, then start feeding on leaves; at first a larva sticks two neighbor leaflets together and skeletonizes them, eating parenchyma; later it plaits new leaflets. S. pilleriana is one of the polyphagous species of leaf rollers, developing on more than 100 species of cultivated and wild host plants from 30 families. The plants include grape, hawthorn, apple, pear, mountain ash, plum, cherry, dewberry, raspberry, currant, strawberry, Schizandra, mulberry, tea, citrus, date-plum, walnut, fig, hop, clover, alfalfa, maize, soy-bean, flax, potato, sunflower, beet, spruce, pine, larch, juniper, eucalyptus, ash, willow, aspen, hornbeam, birch, oak, rose, buckthorn, stonecrop, geranium, sage, origanum, plantain, bedstraw, wormwood, goose-foot, centaury, lily of the valley, iris, etc. Larvae pupate in places of larva feeding between leaves or fruits. Adults are active beginning in the evening at twilight until dawn. Within 2-3 days after copulation, females start to oviposit. Hatched larvae go down along silk filaments and made cocoons in shelters. Natural enemies and diseases are very important in the regulation of the Grape leaf roller population. Most common entomophagous insect parasites include: viz. ichneumonids Agrypon flaveolatum Grav., Angitia areolaris Holmgr., A. fenestralis Holmgr., A. tibialis Grav., Apechtis compunctor L., Ephialtes parallelus Thorns., Epiurus pictipes Grav., Exochus gravipes Grav., Gelis nigrita Forst. (hyperparasite), Itoplectis alternans Grav., I. kolthoffi Aur., I. maculator F., Labrorychus clandestinus Grav., Phaeogenes melanogonus Grav., Ph. mysticus Wesm., Ph. semivulpinus Grav., Phygadeuon ovalis Thorns., Pimpla examinator F., P. turionellae L., Trichomma enecator Rossi., and braconids Apanteles carpatus Say, A. ruficrus Hal., A. sicarius Marsh., Chelonus flavipalpis Szepl., Meteorus colon Hal., Microdus tumidulus Nees. Others parasites are identified between chalcids, such as Brachymeria intermedia Nees, Colpoclypeus florus Walk., and between tachinids, e.g., Actia crassicornis Meig., A. pilipennis Flln., Bessa fugax Rond., B. selecta Meig., Discochaeta hyponomeutae Rond., Erynnia ocypterata Flln., Nemorilla floralis Flln., Pales pavida Meig., Pseudoperichaeta insidiosa R.D. Many larvae perish, being affected by the fungus Beuveria bassiana (Bals.) Vuill. Ants Formica rufa L. actively exterminate larvae of various instars.

Economic significance.

It is a pest of grape, less often of fruits in Moldova and in the south of Ukraine; the polyphagous pest in Transcaucasia (tea, citrus, grape, date-plum, walnut, fig, etc.), and in the Far East (apple, raspberry, strawberry, cherry, Schizandra, grape, soy, clover, etc.). Control measures include: preventive land treatments (clearing of trunks and branches of dried bark, use of trellis, clearing and thinning of forest belts, weed control, sowing of nectariferous plants to support entomophages), application of synthetic lures for both forecast and mating disruption, chemical treatments against larvae (not always effective because of hidden mode of their life).

Reference citations:

Dzhashi V.S., Tavamaishvili E.F. 1949. To studying of grape leafroller, as a pest of tea, its control. Bull. Vses. Inst. Chaya i Subtropich. Kultur 4. 39-45 p. (In Russian)
Kostyuk J.O. 1980. Tortricinae. Fauna of Ukraine in 40 volumes. V. 15, Issue 10. Kiev: Naukova Dumka. 422 p. (In Ukrainian)
Kuznetsov V.I., ed. 1994. Insects and mites - pests of agricultural plants. V. 3. Lepidoptera, part 1. St. Petersburg: Nauka. 316 p. (In Russian)
Pykhova V.T. 1970. Bioecological features of grape leafroller (Sparganothis pilleriana Schiff.) in the south of Ukraine and its control. Abstract of Candidate Thesis Biol. Sci. Odessa: Odessa Agric. Inst. 20 p. (In Russian)
Vasil.ev V.P., ed. 1974. Pests of agricultural crops and forest plantations. Harmful arthropods (continuation), vertebrates. V. 2. Kiev: Urozhai. 606 p. (In Russian)

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