Search the site for a moth name or other keyword

Tortrix moths - Tortricinae

Identify moths


The family Tortricinae is a large subfamily of the Tortricidae family of micro moths.
Some of these are very difficult to identify because their colours and wing patterns vary so much.
Some species are dimorphic - the male and female differ in any or all of size, shape and wing patterns.

Genus Agapeta

Agapeta hamana

Background colour of the forewing is a fairly pale yellow

Agapeta zoegana

Background colour of the forewing is a strong deep yellow

Markings on the forewing are clearly defined and consistent

Markings on the forewing are patchy and vary from moth to moth.

Genus Cnephasia

There are at least 10 recognised British species of Cnephasia, three of which are quite common, namely :-

Grey Tortrix  - Cnephasia stephensiana

Light Grey Tortrix  - Cnephasia incertana

Flax Tortrix   -  Cnephasia asseclana

They can sometimes be separated by size but it is generally accepted that they cannot be distinguished from photographs.

Genus Pandemis - Fruit-Tree Tortrices

Chequered Fruit-Tree Tortrix

Pandemis corylana

Barred Fruit-Tree Tortrix

Pandemis cerasana

Dark Fruit-Tree Tortrix

Pandemis heparana

The dark area at the base of the forewing is pointed towards the middle of the wing

The forewing is strongly netted by lines along the veins.

The forewing may be netted but not strongly.

The edge of the dark area at the base of the forewing is nearly straight.

The forewing may be netted but not strongly.

There is usually a point on the inner edge of the central cross-band.

The edge of the dark area at the base of the forewing is irregular in shape.

Large Fruit-tree Tortrix - Archips podana
 A. Podana
is strongly dimorphic - that is the male and female are quite different.

The female is longer with the tip of the forewing hooked. The forewing is strongly netted.

The male is shorter with the forewing only slightly netted.

The male can be recognised by the diamond shape in the centre of the forewing and the odd shaped pattern at outer edge of the forewing.

The patterns of the male can be recognised in the female but they are indistinct and blurred.

Variegated Golden Tortrix
Archips xylosteana

Archips xylosteana and Ditula angustiorana are similar to the male of A.podana but smaller.
They are not strongly dimorphic but in each case the female is larger than the male.

Red-Barred Tortrix
Ditula angustiorana

The pattern in A. xylosteana is very sharply defined

The pattern at the outer edge of the wing does not extend across the wing as in A. podana

No clearly defined pattern at the outer edge of the wing

The forewing patterns in D. angustiorana not very sharply defined

Lozotaenia forsterana and  Aleimma loeflingiana

Two similar looking moths but L.forsterana is much larger.

Lozotaenia forsterana
Forewing length about 12mm

Aleimma loeflingiana
Forewing length about 8mm

The forewing patterns in both species are consistent. However in both cases the wings may have more dark areas partly obscuring these markings.

Check also other tortrix species with a netted wing pattern such as Pandemis corylana (this page), Acleris forsskaleana, Acleris rhombana and Acleris ferrugana/notana

Top of Page

Identify moths


Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana and Clepsis consimilana
Both these species are dimorphic - the male and female are not alike. The males of the two species are similar.

Epiphyas postvittana - male

Epiphyas postvittana - female

Common male form

Even in unusual male forms the characteristic shape of the pale basal area is usually visible

The female is longer and narrower than the male and is often lighter brown with dark streaks

Clepsis consimilana - male

The male has a light basal area of similar shape to the male of E.postvittana but less dramatic.

The male has two black, blurred spots formed by marks on the trailing edge of the forewing

The female is usually a plain gingery-brown.

Clepsis consimilana - female

Often the female has some sign of the markings of the male

Back to List Back to List Back to List Back to List