Adult -The leaf crumpler moth has a wingspan of 15 to 20 mm. The forewings are light brown with a white patch on each wing and several black lines. The hind wings are lighter in color than the forewings.
Egg -The egg of this insect has not been described.
Larva -The larva of the leaf crumpler varies in size (14.5 to 17.5 mm long). Its head is pale reddish brown; the top of the body is grayish green with some purplish markings, particularly where the segments overlap; the underside is pale grayish green.
Pupa -Measuring about 7 to 9 mm long, the pupa is yellowish brown to reddish brown and slightly darker dorsally.
Host Plants -Apple, cherry, cotoneaster, crabapple, hawthorn, peach, pear, plum, prune, pyracantha, and quince have been recorded as hosts of the leaf crumpler.
Damage -Damage is caused by the feeding of the larvae and the tubes and clusters of leaves they form. Girdling of the twigs and feeding on the buds and fruit (probably caused by crowding) have also been reported.
Life History -In the southeastern United States there are two generations of leaf crumplers each year. Eggs are deposited on the foliage, and they hatch in 2 to 3 weeks. The larvae construct tubes that are attached to twigs of host plants. As the larvae mature, they expand their tubes with silk and leaf fragments. The sinuous tubes can be 5 to 6 mm wide and 30 to 40 mm long when the larvae are fully grown. In late July and mid-August, larvae seal over the ends of the tubes and pupate. Pupation lasts about 2 weeks. Leaf crumplers overwinter as partially grown larvae in the tubes on the host. In the spring in eastern North Carolina, the larvae become active and resume their feeding. These larvae pupate about the middle of May.
During the winter, the first 5 to 10 mm of the reddishbrown tube may become detached from the host. The larvae seal up the open end so that the end of the tube is flat. Larvae first feed on developing leaves near their tubes; but when the adjacent food supply is depleted, they leave their shelters in search of more plant material. These wanderings are usually at night. Leaves brought back to the tube frequently dry and become unpalatable. The accumulation of dry leaves offers additional protection and may result when two or more larvae feed in proximity to one another.
For specific chemical controls, see the current state extension service recommendations.
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