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Tortrix moths - the Genus Acleris

The family Tortricinae includes a large Genus - the Acleris species.  A number of these are common and very variable in wing patterns and colours.

Identify moths


Acleris cristana and Acleris hastiana
Both have very variable wing
colours and patterns.
A.cristana often has a white head and/or a brightly coloured S-shaped band along the trailing edge of the forewing - but not always!

Very large scale tuft in the centre of the forewing.

Acleris cristana

Acleris hastiana

A number of scale tufts but they are smaller.

Leading edge of the forewing curves inwards strongly.

Leading edge of the forewing is straighter than in A.cristana

Acleris variegana - Garden Rose Tortrix

The half of the forewing near the base is often white.

There are large scale clusters in the middle of the white patch.

There are also small scale clusters round the edge of the patch.

The other half of the forewing is various colours - usually browns and blues.

Sometimes the half of the forewing near the base of A.variegana is not all white, but a patch around the  large scale tufts is coloured.

There are sometimes specimens of A.variegana where the basal half of the wing is not white but is near to the background colour and difficult to see as different.

Acleris ferrugana and Acleris notana

It is generally accepted that these two species cannot easily be separated by wing colours and patterns. Both species are very variable in colour and patterns. They will either have to be killed and dissected or recorded as Acleris ferrugana/notana agg.

Usually a scale tuft in the centre of the forewing.

Large hollow triangular mark extending from the leading edge of the forewing. The mark is usually blotchy - compared with a solid semi-circular mark in other species.

Small scale tuft a quarter of the way down the forewing indicates this is probably  A.ferrugana

Acleris comoriana and Acleris laterana
A.comoriana and A.laterana cannot usually be separated just by looking at photographs.

Acleris ferrugana/notana agg.

Acleris laterana/comoriana agg.

Triangular mark solid, rounded and often red - particularly in A.laterana

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Identify moths


Acleris forsskaleana

Rhomboid Tortrix Acleris rhombana

Hook effect at the wing tip  

The wing markings are consistent but sometimes there is an area of dark colour obscuring the centre of the wing.

Acleris forsskaleana has
much wider wings than other
Acleris species with a net pattern such as A.rhombana
Check also
Aleimma loeflingiana and Pandemis corylana

Variable in wing patterns but usually netted.

Acleris aspersana

Background colour of the forewing is golden brown with usually a light net pattern.

Large triangular mark extending from the leading edge of the forewing usually has a projection towards the trailing edge.

A.laterana (Wing length 7-9mm) tends to be bigger than A.comoriana (Wing length 6-8mm)

A.laterana has a shorter flight period. An adult moth seen in early June or November could be assumed to be A.comoriana

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