Clepsis spectrana

Author: (Treitschke, 1830)

Straw-coloured tortrix moth
Cyclamen tortrix

Species Overview:

Adult: 15-24 mm wingspan (male usually noticeably smaller than female); forewings pale ochreous to yellowish, with variable dark brown to blackish markings; hindwings whitish grey.
Egg: orange, flat and oval; deposited in batches, covered with a reticulated gelatinous layer [Clepsis spectrana egg batch ].
Larva: 18-25 mm long; brown to greyish olive-green, paler dorsally, with whitish pinacula and a pale diffuse line along each side; head and prothoracic plate shiny black or blackish brown; anal plate whitish, marked with black or brown; anal comb with 6-8 long prongs [Clepsis spectrana larva ].
Pupa: 9-14 mm long; dull black; cremaster stout and elongate. Spines of front and back row of abdominal segments 4 and 5 of about the same size and at the same distances than those of the back rows [details pupa C. spectrana ; C. spectrana pupa - rolled leaf].

Taxonomic Description:


Clepsis spectrana males
Clepsis spectrana male 1
Clepsis spectrana male 2
External characters: 15-22 wingspan. Antenna dentate-ciliate. Head cream, lateral part of labial palpus scaled ochreous or brownish; thorax brownish yellow. Forewing weakly expanding terminally; costa strongly arced; apex broad, rounded; termen slightly oblique, nearly straight beyond apex. Costal fold fairly broad, reaching to about 1/3 -1/2. Ground colour pale ochreous to yellowish, costa spotted brownish. Median fascia ferruginous, extending from one-third of costa, atrophying in median and dorsal parts of wing; subapical blotch reaching apex, concolorous with median fascia, also dark dotted costally. Cilia concolorous with ground colour. Hindwing whitish grey, paler terminally; cilia pale (Bradley et al., 1973; Razowski, 1979).

male genitalia C. spectrana
Genitalia: Tegumen slender, uncus fairly long, slender, not expanding terminally; socius small; arm of gnathos simple. Valva rather broad, tapering terminally; transtilla bipartite, dentate. Aedeagus with over 20 fairly long, spine-like cornuti in vesica.


Clepsis spectrana females
Clepsis spectrana female 1
Clepsis spectrana female 2
External characters: 17-24 mm wingspan. Forewing without costal fold, costa sinuate. Forewing colouration and markings as in male. Hindwing usually paler than in male, with darker strigulation transversely.

female gen. C. spectrana
Genitalia: Sterigma small with very short cup-shaped part and elongate-subtriangular lateral portions, deeply concave medially; antrum short with median sclerite situated dorsally, tapering towards long ductus bursae; cestum absent; signum strong.


An extremely variable species; the forewing ground colour varies from whitish ochreous to yellowish or reddish brown and the brown irroration may be either obsolescent or heavy. The forewing markings vary in strength and in well-marked specimens the median fascia extends to the tornus. Extreme forms also occur, with the markings obsolescent, the forewing appearing unicolorous.


spectrana damage on red pepper
spectrana damage on Dianthus
This species is bivoltine. Adults of the first generation occur from early June to July, sometimes earlier. Eggs are laid in small groups on the food plant, hatching two to three weeks later. The larvae then feed beneath a web or in young, webbed leaves and 'capped' flowers. When full-grown, each pupates in a white silken cocoon in the larval habitation, in webbed leaves or amongst dead leaves. A second generation of adults appears in August and September. Larvae from these moths feed for a short time before hibernating in silken retreats, usually spun on the food plant. The larvae reappear in early spring to continue feeding and complete their development, usually pupating in May or June.
In greenhouses, this species has developed a greenhouse-adapted biotype that reproduces continuously (Alford, 1984; Alford, 1995; Van de Vrie, 1991).

Host plants:

Polyphagous on herbaceous plants, and an important pest on blackcurrant, strawberry, blackberry and hop. Larvae are also found on apple (Malus), pear (Pyrus), grapes (Vitis vinifera) and pepper.
The species is also pest to floriculture in greenhouses. It may cause damage to Cyclamen, Gerbera and Rosa, as well as Alstroemeria, Begonia, Dianthus, Kalanchoe, Rhododendron and Syringa.
Other host records are Euphorbia palustris, Iris pseudacorus, Schoenoplectus lacuster, Comarum palustre, Glyceria spectabilis, Cicuta virosa, Epilobium hirsutum, Epilobium angustifolium, Epilobium palustre, Nasturtium palustra, Symphytum, Spiraea, Arundo phragmites, Urtica, Viola, Centaurea, Lilium candidum, Rumex, Lysimachia and Equisetum.


On blackcurrant, blackberry and hop, larvae may cause considerable damage to foliage, particularly on the young shoots. New growth on mechanically harvested blackcurrant bushes is especially liable to be attacked. On strawberry, damage in spring develops rapidly, particularly on protected crops; larvae are especially attracted to the flowers and, by feeding on the stamens and receptacle beneath the shelter of webbed-down petals, often cause loss or malformation of fruits. On apple and pear, the larvae feed on leaves (Alford, 1984).
The species is also a pest in floriculture in greenhouses. Larvae may cause considerable damage to leaves and flowers (Van de Vrie, 1991)


Northern, Western and Central Europe to the Caucasus, Trans-Caucasus, Western Kazakhstan.


Z 11-14Ac : 3 *
Z 9-14Ac : 1 * (Minks et al., 1973)

Components marked with * are involved in attraction.


Of larva:
Campoplex punctulatus (Szépligeti) (Ichneumonidae)

1. Clepsis neglectana (Herrich-Schäffer)

Clepsis neglectana larvae are also found on strawberry. This species is distributed in Europe including the Ural Mountains, Northern Africa, Near East and Central Asia. The costal fold of the forewing is rudimentary in males of this species.
Genitalia structures are quite different from those of Clepsis spectrana : The uncus broadens terminally, and is rounded apically; the valvae are long, broadening postmedially where a group of long, terminally slightly thickened bristles occur; the sacculus is provided with a sharp prominence situated submedially
[male genitalia C. neglectana ].
Females can be distinguished from Clepsis spectrana by the presence of a long cestum, which is absent in Clepsis spectrana [female gen. C. neglectana ].

2. Clepsis pallidana (Fabricius)

Clepsis pallidana adults ; Clepsis pallidana male ; Clepsis pallidana females
Besides Clepsis consimilana, which is already dealt with elsewhere, Clepsis pallidana can also be found on apple. This species is distributed in Europe, Asia Minor and Iran, Primorsk and Tuva (Russia), Mongolia, China, Korea and Japan.
Males can be distinguished by the uncus which is broader, and the convex sacculus [male genitalia C. pallidana ].
Females can be distinguished by the presence of a long cestum, which is absent in Clepsis spectrana [female gen. C. pallidana ].