Cochylis epilinana

Author: Duponchel, 1842

Flax fruitborer

Species Overview:

Adult: wingspan 13-15 mm; forewings cream to pale brownish-yellow, brownish basally and at costa, yellowish brown suffused with grey in distal part; median fascia yellowish brown, inwardly oblique. Hindwings pale brownish-yellow or brownish, darker at apex.
Egg: deposited singly on the sepals of the flowers.
Pupa: unknown; either in the seed capsules, or in the soil.

Taxonomic Description:


Cochylis epilinana adult
Cochylis epilinana adults
External characters: Labial palpus yellow-brown, head more yellow; thorax yellow-brown, abdomen paler. Forewing dilated posteriorly, costa slightly convex, apex rounded; termen slightly convex. Ground colour cream to pale brownish-yellow, brownish basally and at costa, yellowish brown suffused with grey or yellowish brown in distal part. Median fascia yellowish brown mixed with blackish scales at dorsum, inwardly oblique, often less pronounced towards costa. Hindwing pale brownish-yellow or brownish, darker at apex (Razowski, 1970a).

male gen. Cochylis epilinana
Genitalia: Uncus absent, socii large; vinculum divided ventrally into two sclerites. Valva elongate, sacculus strong, with short, pointed free termination protruding beyond the ventral margin of the valva; transtilla with very long median process.
Aedeagus large; cornuti long, bent at an angle of 90°, grouped into a large cluster.


External characters: Forewing less dilated posteriorly; markings similar to those of male.

female gen. Cochylis epilinana
Genitalia: Papillae analis slender; ovipositor long; apophyses long. Antrum very large, broad; sterigma a weakly sclerotized band. Corpus bursae not differentiated; ductus seminalis from before sclerite of antrum.


There are 3 generations yearly in the Ukraine. Moths fly from mid May till the end of May, from mid June till the end of July and in August. On the Canary Islands, moths also fly in December. Eggs are deposited singly on the sepals of the flowers. On Solidago and Cephalaria, larvae feed internally in flowerheads, on Linum, they live in the seedcapsules. Upon hatching, the young larva penetrates the seed capsule where it destroys the seeds. One seed capsule can be sufficient to ensure the complete development of the larva. Larvae of the first generation pupate in the seed capsules, those of the second generation usually pupate in the soil. When pupating in the seed capsules, the larva prepares an exit-hole by cutting an incomplete circle, the "lid" still attached to the epidermis.

Host plants:

Linum usitatissimum, Linum catharticum, Linum campanulatum, Linum narbonense, Solidago, Cephalaria leucantha.


Larvae are a pest of flax (Linum), penetrating the seed capsules and destroying the seeds.


Western Palaearctic Region: Morocco, Canary Islands, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, France, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Albania, Greece, Caucasus, Asia Minor, Israel, Syria.


Pheromone unknown.