Pest of the Month: False Codling moth – Thaumatotibia leucotreta

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Importance: Exotic pest that feeds on a wide range of fruit.

Similar To: The false codling moth can look similar to other moths, but can be distinguished by the triangular marking near the edges of the wings.

Description: Adult moths are 15-16 mm (males) and 19-20 mm (female) in length. Forewings have grey, brown, black and orange-brown markings. A triangular marking on the outer part of the wing with a crescent shaped marking above it distinguishes the false codling moth from other species. The adult moths are sexually dimorphic, females being larger than males. Males have a diagnostic reduced hindwing which contains a small circular patch of shiny white scales containing a dark mark.

Young larvae are yellowish-white with dark spots but become bright red or pink when fully grown (15 mm), with a yellow-brown head. Pupae are contained within a tough silken cocoon amongst debris or in the soil.

Hosts: Larvae of this moth feeds on more than 100 host plants, fruit trees, field crops and other plants including apricot, avocado, banana, cacao, cherry, citrus, coffee, cotton, corn, eggplant, grapefruit, grape, hibiscus, lemon, lima bean, lime, macadamia nut, mango, oak, okra, olive, peach, pepper, persimmon, plum, pomegranate, prune, tea, tomato, walnut. The navel cultivar appears to be the variety of citrus most heavily attacked by FCM. Grapefruits and mandarins are less susceptible, and larval development is rarely, if ever, completed in lemons and limes.

Damage: The young larvae mine fruit just beneath the surface, or bore into the skin causing premature ripening of the fruit.

Further industry pest information available at

An initiative of the Nursery Levy funded National Nursery Industry Biosecurity Program (NY15004) and ‘Building the resilience and on-farm biosecurity capacity of the Australian production nursery industry’ Project (NY15002).