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Carnation Tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana)

The Carnation Tortrix is a brownish leafrolling moth. Compared to the males females have more lines on the wing. The hind wings are bright orange in both sexes, scattered with black scales mainly in males. Males are smaller than females, reaching a wingspan of 15 to 17 mm, while females have a wingspan of 18 to 22 mm. It does look like many other brownish Tortrixes, but the bright orange hind wings sets it apart easily.

This species originates from Southern Europe and Northern Africa but was introduced in Western Europe, South Africa and Northern America in greenhouses. It escaped from there (the first one recorded in the Netherlands dates back to 1965) and was capable of withstanding the winter period, overwintering in the larval stage. In most of Western Europe it has two breeds a year. Adults of the first breed are seen in May and June, while the second breed is on the wing in August and September. In warmer climates and in greenhouses there are up to six breeds a year and the species is on the wing all year round.

The caterpillars are up to 20 mm long. They are either brown or greenish grey with lighter spots. The head is brown. The larvae usually spin together some leaves and eats this hiding place untill it is time to move on. When the plant has thick leaves however freshly hatched larvae may mine the leaf of the host plant for a while. They do so in the leaves of carnation, the main food plant of this species. But the Carnation Tortrix isn't picky at all. It has been recorded to feed on at least 160 species of plants, including Flaming Katy, Azalea, Crane's Bill and Juniper. It is considered a pest in greenhouses.

In the wild it is abundant in the Mediterranean and Northern Africa. North of the Alps though it appears in much smaller numbers. It is present all over the British Isles, including Ireland.

The Carnation Tortrix is also known as the Mediterranean Carnation Leafroller or the Carnation Leafroller.