Neosphaleroptera nubilana

Author: (Hübner, 1799)

Species Overview:

Adult: 12-15 mm wingspan; forewings fuscous-brown, irrorate with whitish; markings dark fuscous brown, obscure in males; hindwings fuscous-brown.
Larva: head yellowish brown; prothoracic plate brownish green, sometimes dotted with black; abdomen translucent, light green; pinacula concolorous with abdomen; anal plate green; thoracic legs and prolegs whitish green.
Pupa: black; in the larval habitation.

Taxonomic Description:


N. nubilana male 1
N. nubilana male 2
External characters: Antenna simple, stouter than in females, fuscous, weakly annulate with white. Costa of forewing curved outwards, apex rounded. Ground colour fuscous-brown, sparsely irrorate with whitish; markings obscure, dark fuscous-brown; cilia dark grey. Hindwing fuscous-brown; cilia greyish (Bradley et al., 1973).

male genitalia N. nubilana
Genitalia: Uncus strong, minutely spined except for basal lobes, tapering apically; gnathos simple; vinculum simple, slender; socii large. Valva fairly broad, with non-angulate sacculus provided with subterminal process of ventral edge; transtilla band-shaped with small median prominence; juxta broad with short lobes. Aedeagus curved, with series of dents on wall of apical end.


N. nubilana female 1
N. nubilana female 2
External characters: Forewing ground colour as in male, heavily irrorate with whitish, sparsely strigulated with fuscous; markings comparatively distinct, dark fuscous-brown; sub-basal fascia obliterate towards dorsum; inner margin of median fascia shallowly sinuous; a thick irregular stria emitted from pre-apical spot or suffusion and extending to tornal area. Hindwing as in male.

female genitalia N. nubilana
Genitalia: Papilla analis wide, clothed with long hairs; sterigma cup-shaped, with distinct antevaginal part and proximal prominences; a small ventral sclerite fused with sterigma; ductus seminalis situated medially on very short ductus bursae; corpus bursae small; signum reduced to indistinct group of spines.


Moths fly in July and are often found in hawthorn and blackthorn hedges, quickly flying back into the bushes when disturbed. The male flies around the food plant in sunshine by day and during the evening, and is joined by the female towards dusk. There is only one generation yearly.
Larvae can be found in spun shoots, drawing the leaves together and feeding in the heart. They overwinter in an early instar and recommence feeding in the spring. Pupation takes place in the larval habitation, in June (Bradley et al., 1973).

Host plants:

Crataegus, Prunus, Malus, Pyrus, Betula.


This species is generally not an important fruitpest. Crataegus is its primary host, but it was also recorded from pear, apricot, plum and apple. Larvae can be found in spun shoots, drawing the leaves together and feeding in the heart.
Hohn, 1988, mentiones it as an occasional pest of apple, having caused considerable yield losses in apple in the cantons of Zurich and Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1986.


Europe from England and Sweden to the Mediterranean, Asia Minor and Western Russia.


Pheromone unknown.


Z 5-10Ac (Arn et al., 1986a)

Cnephasia ecullyana Réal

According to Nässig and Thomas, 1991, there is a considerable taxonomic confusion in the older literature prior to 1950, because the externally similar Cnephasiini species Cnephasia ecullyana Réal was confounded with Neosphaleroptera nubilana.
There is however a reliable character to identify Neosphaleroptera nubilana from Cnephasia ecullyana without dissection: on the forewings of Cnephasia moths there is a scale dimorphism of slightly erect, enlarged, dark, spatulate scales mixed under the normal wing scales in bands along the fasciae [erect spatulate scales]. (Arrows indicate the erect large scales on the forewing; large arrows indicate the double row in the centre of the forewing, small arrows indicate additional groups along other fasciae).