Clepsis senecionana

Author: (Hübner, 1819)

Rustic tortrix

Species Overview:

Adult: 13-16 mm wingspan; forewings pale ochreous with darker transverse oblique striae, markings indistinct; costa hardly curved in males. Hindwings grey.
Larva: 12-15 mm, brownish yellow, pinacula concolorous; head pale brown marked with black eye and lateral spots; shields and thoracic legs yellowish green.
Pupa: head and thorax blackish, abdomen lighter; in a white, silken cocoon in a spun shoot.

Taxonomic Description:


Clepsis senecionana male
Clepsis senecionana male 2
External characters: wingspan 13-16 mm. Labial palpus ochreous cream; remaining parts of head rather concolorous; thorax browner. Forewing expanding terminally, costa hardly curved, without fold; termen fairly oblique. Ground colour greyish ochreous, weakly irrorate with olive-yellow or olive-brown, with darker transverse oblique striae; markings indistinct. Cilia paler than ground colour, median line concolorous with markings. Hindwing grey, cilia white-cream marked with indistinct median line. Antenna dentate-ciliate (Bradley et al., 1973; Razowski, 1979).

male genitalia C. senecionana
male gen. C. senecionana 2
Genitalia: Uncus expanding terminally, almost straight apically; socius small; gnathos with slender arm, simple. Valva subtriangular, provided with internal median sclerite with dentate distal crest; sacculus convex and dentate in middle of ventral edge, armed with slender subterminal dorsal denticle; transtilla bipartite, variably dentate, short; Aedeagus provided with large lateral process (left side); anellus with large hairy lobes.


Clepsis senecionana females
Clepsis senecionana female 2
External characters: Forewing much more slender than in male, almost unicolorous, paler, more yellowish. Hindwing more cream than in male, strigulation weak.

female gen. C. senecionana
Genitalia: Lamella postvaginalis in form of a narrow band, curled laterally, with two speckled posterior prominences; lateral processes thin. Ostium area well sclerotized, ring-shaped. Antrum bulbous, weakly sclerotized except for small area medially; cestum absent; signum with well developed capitulum and basal plate.


In the male the forewing ground colour varies from light greyish ochreous to comparatively dark ochreous-brown, the irroration varying in intensity. The female is less variable. In both sexes a very light almost whitish form occasionally occurs.


Moths fly in May and June in damp areas, mainly in grassy biotopes, marshes, moorlands etc. It is of rather retiring habits, hiding during the day amongst grass and other herbage, creeping rather than flying to another hiding place when disturbed. It flies freely in warm sunshine during the afternoon and evening, disappearing instantly when the sky becomes cloudy.
The larva lives from July to April rolling or spinning terminal leaves. It overwinters in a white silken cocoon constructed in the middle of a small cluster of shoot leaves, the tip of which are often eaten off evenly all round. Pupation in a white, silken cocoon in a spun shoot.

Host plants:

Convallaria, Dorycnium, Gentianella amarella, Lotus, Lysimachia, Myrica, Polygonatum, Onobrychis viccifolia and Vaccinium myrtillus. In Scotland also recorded on Picea, Pinus and Larix.


On conifers, larvae mine into leaves and buds of young trees, causing shoot dieback and multi-leaders. Common where cultivation removes the normal heathland food plants.


Europe to Eastern Siberia.


Pheromone unknown.