Homona coffearia

Author: (Nietner, 1861)

Tea tortrix
Camellia tortrix

Species Overview:

Adult: male 16-20 mm wingspan; abdomen with a large anal tuft. Forewings with large semicircular costal fold; ground colour greyish brown, with brown markings and a darker spot at costa; hindwings dark fuscous. Female ca. 23 mm wingspan; forewings pale-brown, almost devoid of dark distinct markings. Veins R4 and R5 in forewing stalked in both sexes.
Egg: very flat; deposited in overlapping clusters.
Larva: up to 25 mm, dark green with a shiny black head.

Taxonomic Description:


Homona coffearia male 1
Homona coffearia male 2
Homona coffearia wing
External characters: 16-20 mm wingspan. Abdomen with a large anal tuft. Antenna shortly ciliate, basal joint short and thickened. Forewing elongate-semiovate, with a large semicircular costal fold; costa gradually arced anteriorly, nearly straight posteriorly, apex little rounded, termen slightly concave above, oblique and rounded beneath. Ground colour greyish brown; median fascia formed by a conspicuous obliquely-triangular small dot on costa and an outwardly concave, light-edged, fawn-coloured, oblique fascia below this to 3/4 of dorsum; costal patch elongate-ovate, narrow, mostly connected by a conspicuous curved narrow dark brown crescentic fascia with middle of termen. Hindwing dark fuscous (Diakonoff, 1939; Diakonoff, 1948b; Diakonoff, 1941b).

male genitalia H. coffearia
Genitalia: Tegumen strong, triangular, pedunculi narrow, vinculum rounded. Valva broad, very short, triangular, wrinkled, bristled along the margin; costa indistinct; sacculus strongly sclerotized, narrow, terminating in sharp processes before apex of valva. Uncus large, with rounded-clavate top, shortly haired underneath; gnathos very strong, with narrow arms and large, sharp hook; socii minute, narrow. Transtilla narrowed in the middle, with excavate under edge. Aedeagus pistol-shaped, with a strong thorn at the upper margin of the top; cornuti three long spines.


Homona coffearia female 1
Homona coffearia female 2
External characters: average wingspan 23 mm; antenna smooth. Forewing elongate-rectangular, costa abruptly and strongly arced at base, straight in middle, slightly sinuate before apex, apex projecting; termen slightly sinuate above, oblique and rounded beneath. Forewing pale-brown, almost devoid of dark distinct markings. Hindwing yellow.

female gen. H. coffearia
Genitalia: Papillae analis elongate, dilated at the top. Sterigma a broad upturned trapezoid, antrum a curved and sclerotized funnel; ductus bursae long and narrow; cestum thin, making one spiral, somewhat dilated at the end. Bursa copulatrix large, ovoid; signum a large hook with dilated base.


Homona coffearia is most abundant in dry weather between December and April in the south-western monsoon region in Sri Lanka. Egg masses are laid on the upper surfaces of mature leaves. The egg stage lasts about 6-11 days. The newly hatched larvae tend to move upwards to the growing points of the bush and begin feeding. From the second to the fifth (final) instar, they make nests by webbing two or more leaves together. Several nests are usually constructed by one larva in the course of development (5-6 weeks), and the mature larva pupates inside the final nest. The adult moth emerges about 10 days later (Tamaki, 1991).

Host plants:

Acacia auriculiformis, Arachis hypogaea, Bauhinia, Cajanus indicus, Calophyllum inophyllum, Camellia sinensis, Cinnamomun, Citrus, Coffea, Crotalaria, Derris, Eucalyptus alba, Eugenia polyantha, Glochidion, Gossypium, Linum, Melochia indica, Nephelium, Pluchea indica, Pyrus.


Larvae are polyphagous leaf-rollers or leaf-tiers. On tea, the leaves are folded longitudinally. They also attack fruits, shoots, and flowers. This species was originally described as a pest of coffee in Sri Lanka; subsequently it also became a serious pest of tea from the 1910s until the late 1930s, but the introduction of the braconid Macrocentrus homonae Nixon from Indonesia was extremely successful and reduced Homona coffearia to the status of a minor seasonal pest. This situation continued until the mid-1950s. Since then, this leafroller has become a rather serious pest because of the use of dieldrin and aldrin for controlling the shot-hole borer, Xyleborus fornicatus Eichhoff (Kalshoven, 1981; Tamaki, 1991).
On coffee, larvae feed on leaves and the tender shoots. Damage is usually small.


India; Sri Lanka; China; Thailand; W. Malaysia; Java; Brunei; Sabah; Sarawak. Lowland to montane.


E 9-12Ac : 36
12Ac : 15
12OH : 49
(Kochansky et al., 1978)


E 9-12Ac : 1
12Ac : 1
12OH : 3
(Roelofs and Brown, 1982)


Meteorus varicosus Huddleston (Braconidae)
Macrocentrus homonae Nixon (Braconidae)
Aulosaphes bicolor XueXin and JunHua (Braconidae)
Theronia simillima Turner (Ichneumonidae)
Camptotypus (Hemipimpla) clotho (Morley) (Ichneumonidae)
Phytodietus sp. (Ichneumonidae)
Itoplectis naranyae (Ichneumonidae)
Habronyx discoidellus (Ichneumonidae)
Palexocrista solennis (Tachinidae)

Homona nubiferana (Walker)

Homona nubiferana male
Homona nubiferana female

Homona nubiferana (Walker) is only known from Java in Indonesia. It is less common than Homona coffearia, and feeds on ground nuts (Arachis), Cajanus, Crotalaria, Tephrosia, Erythrina, Citrus and cocoa (Theobroma cacao) (Geest van der et al., 1991)
Males have a very broad transtilla with large processes at the side. The sacculus has a rectangular apex [male genitalia H. nubiferana ].
The female of this species has a tortuous ductus bursae and cestum [female gen. H. nubiferana ].