Lobesia botrana

Geographic Range

Lobesia botrana, commonly known as the European grapevine moth, is native to southern Italy and is thought to have originated from Austria. It has been introduced to Europe, north and west Africa, the Middle East, eastern Russia, Japan, and Chile. The European grapevine moth was first identified in the United States in October of 2009 in Napa County, California. (Zalom, et al., 2011)


The European grapevine moth most commonly lives on grape plants in agricultural areas. However it also lives on berries as well as twenty-five other plants. These include carnations, cherries, currants, lilacs, nectarines, and plums. Lobesia botrana thrives in somewhat dry climates, such as the areas of California suitable for producing wine. (Venette, et al., 2003)

Physical Description

The adult moth is about 6 to 8 mm long. The forewings of Lobesia botrana are a light, creamy white to tannish color, with black, brown, and grey mottling. Their hind wings are a greyish color. Females tend to be larger than males. The pupae are a dark brown color and usually between 4 to 9 mm long. Larvae are about 1 mm when hatched, and can grow to about 10 mm long. The larvae are a pale, yellowish/whitish color when newly hatched and usually become light green to light brown in color. The eggs of the European grapevine moth are typically laid singly on the host plant, and have a rounded, flat shape. (CABI, 2014)

  • Sexual Dimorphism
  • female larger
  • Range length
    6 to 8 mm
    0.24 to 0.31 in


Depending on the environmental temperature, the European grapevine moth can have up to four life cycles per year, although two to three is the most common. Pupae are in a resting state during the winter in hidden places to hide from predators. Adults emerge from pupation when air temperatures are warm enough (over 10 degrees Celsius). Males emerge about a week before females. The first-generation moths are usually the largest but do the least damage on the grapevines. Females lay eggs one or three days after mating. The first generation eggs are laid singly near the flower cluster. Eggs hatch after 3 to 11, with hatching occurring sooner in warmer, more favorable temperatures. The larvae of the first generation feed on the flower parts. Larval development takes 20 to 30 days, depending on temperature. Non-diapausing pupae develop in 6 to 14 days before emerging as adults. These adults mate and produce another generation, and depending on the region, the cycle repeats before winter. The last generation produces diapausing pupae. Eggs of the second and third generation moths are usually laid directly on the berries. The larvae of these generations are the most damaging since they feed on the berry itself. (Venette, et al., 2003; Zalom, et al., 2011)


Males and females of Lobesia botrana take flight at dusk to find mates shortly after emerging from pupation. Mating occurs in flight. Pheromones are likely secreted to attract mates. Most females only mate once, though they are capable of mating more than once. Males likely mate multiple times with multiple females. (Zalom, et al., 2011)

It takes about one to three days after mating for the female to lay her eggs. The first generation of eggs are attached on or near the flower bunch. A female can lay up to 35 eggs per day for 6 days. On average, a single female lays 80 to 140 eggs, though this depends on the generation. Later generation eggs are laid singly and directly on berries. This is where L. botrana remain during the larval and pupal stage of development. (Venette, et al., 2003; Zalom, et al., 2011)

  • Breeding interval
    Most females mate only once in their lives, though can mate more. Males mate multiple times.
  • Breeding season
    Lobesia botrana mates during the spring or summer, depending on the region and generation.
  • Range eggs per season
    80 to 140

Females of Lobesia botrana provide provisioning in their eggs, and lay the eggs near or on a food source. When the larvae hatch, they will not have far to travel to find food. Aside from this, adults of L. botrana provide no more parental care. Males leave after mating, and females leave after the eggs are laid. (Zalom, et al., 2011)

  • Parental Investment
  • pre-hatching/birth
    • provisioning
      • female


Depending on whether or not conditions are favorable, the European grapevine moth can live anywhere from 5 to 9 weeks after hatching. The egg itself takes 3 days to 11 days to hatch. Adults live for 1 to 3 weeks after emerging from pupation. Total lifespan from egg to death is 5 to 10 weeks. (Gruber and Daugherty, 2012)

  • Typical lifespan
    Status: wild
    1 to 3 months


There is little information available about the behavior of Lobesia botrana. European grapevine moths usually fly at dusk when temperatures are cooler. Mating also takes place at this time while flying. (Cooper, et al., 2010)

Communication and Perception

The European grapevine moth primarily uses its sense of smell to determine which plants are suitable to feed from. Its advanced sense of smell allows it to distinguish between plants in order to lay its eggs properly. Pheromones are also used during mating to attract mates. The European grapevine moth, during the larval stage, is capable of perceiving when a threat is present. In order to protect itself, L. botrana speeds up its rate of development in order to reach metamorphosis quicker and escape the perceived threat. (Vogelweith, et al., 2013; Zalom, et al., 2011)

Food Habits

Larvae of Lobesia botrana feed on the fruit of a variety of plants. Their main host plants are grapes and grape cultivars, but can also feed on other berry plants, such as raspberries. After the larvae hatch, they will eat the nearest edible surface of the plant. This can be the berries, the leaf buds, or the flowers. (Moreau, et al., 2010)

  • Plant Foods
  • leaves
  • fruit
  • flowers


There are different predators at different stages of the life cycle of L. botrana. The main predator during the egg stage is parasitic wasps of Trichogramma spp. In parts of Europe, predators often prey on the pupae when they are overwintering. Green lacewings and spiders are the main predators during the summer months to the larvae. (Cooper, et al., 2010; Zalom, et al., 2011)

Ecosystem Roles

Larvae of L. botrana attack grapevines in several different ways. The larvae of the first generation attack the flower clusters because that is the only part of the plant that is available at that point in the season. The second-generation larvae, which are usually between July and August, feed on green berries. The larvae go inside the berry, hollowing it out and leaving only the skin and seeds. The third-generation larvae, which are usually present between August and September, cause the most damage. These larvae feed on the inside of the berries when they are ripe, which contaminates the grape. The European Grapevine Moth ruins grapevines, which reduces the production of wine and negatively affects the ecosystem.

Lobesia botrana is prey to a variety of predators. They are also parasitized by a large number of parasitoid wasps, as well as several tachnid fly species. Trichogramma wasps are egg parasites, laying their eggs within the moth eggs, which kill the developing moth. In Europe, Dibrachys affinis and Dibrachys cavus are pupal parasites. Other parasitoids include the ichneumonid wasps Dicaelotus inflexus and Campoplex capitator. ("Lobesia botrana", 2014; Cooper, et al., 2010; Zalom, et al., 2011)

Species Used as Host
  • grapes, Vitis spp.
Commensal/Parasitic Species

Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive effects of Lobesia botrana on humans.

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

European grapevine moths have a negative impact on humans and the economy. Since the moth destroys berry production farmers cannot produce as many grapes when infested with European grapevine moth. It also can cause spikes in the cost of grapes since farmers cannot produce as many leaving them no other choice but to raise prices. This also causes problems for the wine industrusy. Since the moths lay their eggs directly on the berry the larvae feed on the grape, destroying it completely or making it more susceptible to disease. (Cooper, et al., 2010; Venette, et al., 2003)

  • Negative Impacts
  • crop pest

Conservation Status

The European grapevine moth possesses no risk of extinction.


Natalie Potts (author), Grand View University, Ryan Roberts (author), Grand View University, Sanela Smajlovic (author), Grand View University, Felicitas Avendano (editor), Grand View University, Dan Chibnall (editor), Grand View University, Angela Miner (editor), Animal Diversity Web Staff.



living in sub-Saharan Africa (south of 30 degrees north) and Madagascar.

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living in the Nearctic biogeographic province, the northern part of the New World. This includes Greenland, the Canadian Arctic islands, and all of the North American as far south as the highlands of central Mexico.

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living in the southern part of the New World. In other words, Central and South America.

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living in the northern part of the Old World. In otherwords, Europe and Asia and northern Africa.

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living in landscapes dominated by human agriculture.

bilateral symmetry

having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.


uses smells or other chemicals to communicate


active at dawn and dusk


a period of time when growth or development is suspended in insects and other invertebrates, it can usually only be ended the appropriate environmental stimulus.


animals which must use heat acquired from the environment and behavioral adaptations to regulate body temperature


union of egg and spermatozoan


an animal that mainly eats fruit


An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.


having a body temperature that fluctuates with that of the immediate environment; having no mechanism or a poorly developed mechanism for regulating internal body temperature.

internal fertilization

fertilization takes place within the female's body


referring to animal species that have been transported to and established populations in regions outside of their natural range, usually through human action.


A large change in the shape or structure of an animal that happens as the animal grows. In insects, "incomplete metamorphosis" is when young animals are similar to adults and change gradually into the adult form, and "complete metamorphosis" is when there is a profound change between larval and adult forms. Butterflies have complete metamorphosis, grasshoppers have incomplete metamorphosis.


having the capacity to move from one place to another.

native range

the area in which the animal is naturally found, the region in which it is endemic.


found in the oriental region of the world. In other words, India and southeast Asia.

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reproduction in which eggs are released by the female; development of offspring occurs outside the mother's body.


chemicals released into air or water that are detected by and responded to by other animals of the same species


having more than one female as a mate at one time

seasonal breeding

breeding is confined to a particular season


remains in the same area


offspring are all produced in a single group (litter, clutch, etc.), after which the parent usually dies. Semelparous organisms often only live through a single season/year (or other periodic change in conditions) but may live for many seasons. In both cases reproduction occurs as a single investment of energy in offspring, with no future chance for investment in reproduction.


reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female


lives alone


that region of the Earth between 23.5 degrees North and 60 degrees North (between the Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle) and between 23.5 degrees South and 60 degrees South (between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Antarctic Circle).


Living on the ground.


2014. "Lobesia botrana" (On-line). Institute for the Study of Invasive Species. Accessed March 09, 2014 at http://www.tsusinvasives.org/database/grapevinemoth.html.

CABI, 2014. "Lobesia Botrana (grape berry moth)" (On-line). Invasive Species Compendium. Accessed March 09, 2014 at http://www.cabi.org/isc/?compid=5&dsid=42794&loadmodule=datasheet&page=481&site=144.

Cooper, M., L. Varela, R. Smith. 2010. European Grapevine Moth: a New Pest of Grapes in California. Farm Advisors, August: 20-28. Accessed March 09, 2014 at http://cesonoma.ucanr.edu/files/36671.pdf.

Gruber, B., M. Daugherty. 2012. "European Grapevine Moth" (On-line). Center for Invasive Species Research. Accessed March 09, 2014 at http://cisr.ucr.edu/european_grapevine_moth.html.

Moreau, J., C. Villemant, B. Benrey, D. Thiery. 2010. Species diversity of larval parasitoids of the European grapevine moth (Lobesia botrana, Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): The influence of region and cultivar. Biological Control, 54.3: 300-306.

Venette, R., E. Davis, M. DaCosta, H. Heisler, M. Larson. 2003. "Mini Risk Assessment: Grape berry moth, Lobesia botrana" (On-line). United States Department of Agriculture. Accessed March 09, 2014 at http://www.aphis.usda.gov/plant_health/plant_pest_info/pest_detection/downloads/pra/lbotranapra.pdf.

Vogelweith, F., Y. Moret, D. Thiery, J. Moreau. 2013. Lobesia botrana Larvae Develop Faster in the Presence of Parasitoids. PLOS ONE, 8/8: 1-3. Accessed March 09, 2014 at http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0072568.

Zalom, F., L. Varela, M. Cooper. 2011. "European Grapevine Moth (Lobesia botrana)" (On-line). University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. Accessed March 09, 2014 at http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/EXOTIC/eurograpevinemoth.html.