Sparganothis pilleriana

Author: (Denis and Schiffermüller, 1775)

Grape tortricid
Pyrale de la vigne

Species Overview:

Adult: labial palpi markedly long and porrect in both sexes; males 15-20 mm wingspan; forewings ochreous, with a brassy tinge from base to beyond median fascia, sparsely strigulated with brown distally and with brown markings; hindwings brownish grey. Females 17-22 mm wingspan; forewings almost uniform reddish brown or yellowish, with a weak brassy sheen; wing markings obsolete. Hindwing of both sexes with cubital pecten.
Egg: emerald-green when first laid, changing to greenish yellow and then pure yellow, covered with a gland secretion hardening in the air; deposited on the food plant in batches of 40-60 eggs.
Larva: up to 25mm long; head and prothoracic plate black; abdomen varying from pale green to greyish green, with a narrow darker green dorsal line, integument strongly shagreened; pinacula small, paler than integument; anal plate yellowish brown; thoracic legs black.
Pupa: dark brown; cremaster long, somewhat flattened dorso-ventrally, provided with two lateral and two terminal bristles directed ventrally; between spun leaves or in a rolled leaf of the food plant.

Taxonomic Description:


Sparganothis pilleriana males 1
Sparganothis pilleriana males 2
External characters: Labial palpus, head and thorax dark ochreous; palpi markedly long and porrect in both sexes. Antenna of male rough-scaled, finely ciliate. Forewing truncate apically, with very narrow costal fold from base to about one-fifth. Ground colour ochreous, with a brassy tinge from base to beyond median fascia, sparsely strigulated with brown distally; markings brown with an ochreous admixture; basal fasciae obscurely indicated on costa; sub-basal fascia represented by a small quadrate spot on dorsum; median fascia narrow, very oblique from costa at one-third, outer margin irregular; pre-apical spot quadrate, only a little beyond middle of wing, usually emitting apically several irregular transverse, often confluent, strigulae; a rather thick almost straight subterminal strigula. Hindwing brownish grey; cilia pale ochreous, with a darker sub-basal line (Bradley et al., 1973).

male genitalia S. pilleriana
Genitalia: Uncus thin, distinctly sclerotized, curved downwards, with slender basal lobes; arms of gnathos not coalescent terminally, each arm more or less distinctly expanding apically; socii broad. Valva broad, somewhat tapering and curved upwards terminally; sacculus slender, provided with small dent post-basally; transtilla broadening and dentate medially. Aedeagus slender, bent; several slender cornuti in vesica.


S. pilleriana females 1
S. pilleriana females 2
External characters: Antenna minutely ciliate; apex of forewing angulate. Forewing colouration almost uniform red-brown with a weak brassy sheen; wing markings obsolete. Hindwing brownish grey; cilia paler, with a weak sub-basal line.

female genitalia S. pilleriana
Genitalia: Papilla analis slender, apophyses slender, long; sterigma broad, with well-developed sub-median, spined, folds. Antrum small; ductus bursae broad anteriorly, coiled; signum an elongate, concave plate.


The male shows extensive variation in reduction of the forewing markings; in specimens in which they are obsolescent the ground colour is usually paler, varying from greyish ochreous to whitish ochreous. In the female, the forewing ground colour shows similar variation.


The adult moths mate during the night and lay their egg masses on leaves. The young larvae soon enter diapause and resume their activity only when the first leaves appear next spring. Then they migrate to the tip of the branches, feed on buds and afterwards on leaves (usually folding the leaf from the upper side), stems and flower clusters, and are sheltered by their own silk. Larvae exhibit typical territorial behaviour, marking and defending their territories with knocking sounds. Pupation occurs between spun leaves or in a rolled leaf of the food plant.
In the UK, moths fly in July and August; this is also the case in the Netherlands.
Material from Japan, studied by Yasuda, 1975b, was collected during June and July.
(Roehrich and Boller, 1991; Bradley et al., 1973; Bentinck and Diakonoff, 1968; Yasuda, 1975b).

Host plants:

This species is known as a pest of grape vine (Vitis vinifera), apple (Malus), tea (Camellia) and strawberries (Fragaria), and is also known to feed on Citrus, Centaurea, Clematis, Castanea, Crataegus, Humulus, Iris, Limonium vulgare, Medicago sativa, Narthecium ossifragum, Origanum, Phaseolus vulgaris, Plantago, Pyrus, Robina, Sambucus nigra, Stachys and Salix repens. In Turkey the larva has been found feeding in shoots of Pinus pinea and Pinus halepensis var. brutia. In Japan it has been recorded from Abies sachalinensis, Malus pumila, Disporum smilacinum, Lespedeza thunbergii, Wisteria brachybotrys and Pteridium aquilinum.


Known for a long time as a serious pest of grape vine, Sparganothis pilleriana has become a minor problem in recent years, except in central Spain (Mancha). Larvae mainly attack the shoots, but also feed on buds and afterwards on leaves, stems and flower clusters, and are sheltered by their own silk. Damage caused by three to four larvae per vine can be very heavy, especially in the early developmental stages of the young shoots (Roehrich and Boller, 1991).


Europe to Eastern Russia and Hokkaido, Japan.


E 9-12Ac : 0.09 *
12Ac : 0.4
E 11-14Ac : 0.07 *
Z 11-14Ac : 0.06 *
14Ac : 0.4
16Ac : 0.5
18Ac : 5
20Ac : 5
22Ac : 0.5
24Ac : 50

Components marked with * are involved in attraction (Guerin et al., 1986b).


Z 11-14Ac : 4
E 11-14Ac : 4
E 9-12Ac : 4
E 9-12OH : 1
(Guerin et al., 1986b)


Z 11-14Al
(Ando et al., 1978)


E 9-12Ac
E 9-12OH
(Roehrich, 1977)


Phaeogenes melanogonus Gravenhorst (Ichneumonidae)
Phaeogenes semipulvinius Gravenhorst (Ichneumonidae)
Phaeogenes mysticus Wsm. (Ichneumonidae)
Itoplectis maculator Fabricius (Ichneumonidae)
Itoplectis alternans Gravenhorst (Ichneumonidae)
Pimpla instigator Fabricius (Ichneumonidae)
Pimpla turionellae Linnaeus(Ichneumonidae)
Apechthis rufata Gmelin (Ichneumonidae)
Argypon flaveolatum Gravenhorst (Ichneumonidae)
Argypon stenostigma Thoms. (Ichneumonidae)
Angitia tibialis Gravenhorst (Ichneumonidae)
Angitia fenestralis Holm. (Ichneumonidae)
Angitia areolaris Holm. (Ichneumonidae)
Horogenes chrysosticta Gmelin (Ichneumonidae)
Exochus tardigralis Gravenhorst (Ichneumonidae)
Exochus gravipes Gravenhorst (Ichneumonidae)
Microdus tumidulus Nees (Braconidae)
Habrobracon crassicornis Thoms. (Braconidae)
Apanteles albipennis Nees (Braconidae)
Monodontomerus aereus Walker (Chalcididae)
Monodontomerus cupreus Spin. (Chalcididae)
Monodontomerus nitidus Newp. (Chalcididae)
Monodontomerus obsoletus Fabricius (Chalcididae)
Elachertus affinis Masi. (Chalcididae)
Brachymeria intermedia Nees (Chalcididae)
Brachymeria minuta Linnaeus (Chalcididae)
Pteromalus deplanatus Nees (Pteromalidae)
Pteromalus vitis Dalm. (Pteromalidae)
Pteromalus ovatus Nees (Pteromalidae)
Pteromalus larvarum Spin. (Pteromalidae)
Pteromalus communis Nees (Pteromalidae)
Eulophus pyralidarum Aud. (Eulophidae)
Goniozus clavipennis Forst. (Bethylidae)
Bethylus formicarius Westw. (Bethylidae)
Nemorilla floralis Fallén (Tachinidae)
Nemorilla maculosa (Meigen) (Tachinidae)
Actia pilipennis (Fallén) (Tachinidae)
Pales pavida Meigen (Tachinidae)
Bessa fugax Rondani (Tachinidae)
Tachina hortorum Meigen (Tachinidae)
Pseudoperichaeta nigrolineata (Walker) (Tachinidae)