Cnephasia pumicana Zeller larva Cereal leaf roller

This species is associated mainly with cereals, and is reported as a potentially important pest in parts of continental Europe, especially northern France. The larvae also feed on various other plants, although on many such 'hosts' they cannot complete their full development. Most significant damage is caused to the ears of wheat and barley. In some instances, grains are totally destroyed or their development aborted. In other cases, following damage to the stem above the top-most node, the ear turns white; on barley, yield losses of over 20% are reported. This pest does not occur in the British Isles.


Adults are active in July. Eggs are then laid on the bark of trees and on other similar surfaces. First-instar larvae appear in August and then almost immediately spin hibernacula within which to overwinter. Larvae reappear in the spring, usually from March onwards. They then produce a line of silk and are carried by the wind until they alight on a suitable host plant. On cereals, the larvae at first mine within the leaves. In the later stages of their development, the larvae feed externally, attacking the stems and the developing ears. Fully fed larvae pupate within the shelter of the ear sheath and adults emerge 2-3 weeks later. There is just one generation annually.


Adult 16-20 mm wingspan; forewings mainly yellowish-grey; hindwings pale yellowish-grey. Egg 1 mm long, elliptical, pale yellowish-orange but later becoming reddish-orange. Larva up to 12 mm long; body mainly greyish to pale ochre-ous; pinacula, prothoracic plate and anal plate slightly darker than the body. Pupa 7 mm long, reddish-brown.

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