Merophyas divulsana (Walker, 1863)
Lucerne Leaf Roller
(formerly known as Conchylis divulsana)
ARCHIPINI ,   TORTRICINAE ,   TORTRICIDAE ,   TORTRICOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley


(Photo: courtesy of Agriculture Western Australia)

The Caterpillars of this species are an agricultural pest in Australia, feeding on various crops and herbaceous garden plants, including :

  • Lucerne ( Medicago sativa, FABACEAE ),
  • Carrot ( Daucus carota, APIACEAE ),
  • Lettuce ( Lactuca sativa, ASTERACEAE )
  • Honeysuckle ( Lonicera japonica, CAPRIFOLIACEAE ),
  • Black Roly Poly ( Sclerolaena muricata, CHENOPODIACEAE )
  • Geranium ( Pelargonium x zonale, GERANIACEAE ),
  • Spearmint ( Mentha spicata, LAMIACEAE ), and
  • Dock ( Rumex species, POLYGONACEAE ).

    The caterpillars grow to a length of about 1 cm.


    (Specimen: courtesy of the Macleay Museum, University of Sydney)

    The adult moths have light brown forewings, with a darker diagonal band across each wing, and pale grey hindwings. They have a wingspan of about 1.5 cms.

    The species is found over the whole of Australia including

  • Queensland,
  • New South Wales,
  • Victoria,
  • Tasmania,
  • South Australia, and
  • Western Australia.

    The moths have also been found in

  • New Zealand, apparently blown there by cyclonic winds.

    The pheromones of this species have been determined, and synthetic versions used to trap the moths.


    Further reading :

    Ian F.B. Common,
    Moths of Australia,
    Melbourne University Press, 1990, pp. 59, 68, 278.

    Francis Walker,
    Tortricites & Tineites,
    List of the Specimens of Lepidopterous Insects in the Collection of the British Museum,
    Part 28 (1863), p. 364, No. 117.


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    (updated 4 September 2011)