Cacoecimorpha pronubana (Hübner): (Carnation tortrix)

California Pest Rating for
Cacoecimorpha pronubana (Hübner): (Carnation tortrix)
Lepidoptera:  Tortricidae
Pest Rating: A

Initiating Event:

In October 2013, USDA released a DEEP report proposing to deregulate Cacoecimorpha pronubana (carnation tortrix).  The insect is currently “Q”-rated by CDFA, so a pest rating proposal is needed to determine future direction.

History & Status:

Background Carnation tortrix is a highly polyphagous leaf-rolling tortricid moth.  First instar larvae mine leaves or buds and later instars roll or web leaves and terminals together2.  Larvae can damage fruit by webbing leaves to fruit or feeding between adjacent fruits2.  It has been documented feeding on more than 160 plant species in 42 families including many economically important crops such as grape, tomato, strawberry, cherry, citrus, pear, peach, apple, avocado, plum, blueberry, rose, and Brassicaceae.  The moth is most commonly encountered as a pest of flowers in greenhouses2.

Worldwide Distribution: Carnation tortrix is native to Northern Africa.  It is now widespread from western Europe through Asia.  It has been introduced into South Africa and the states of Oregon in 1964 and Washington in 19742.  There are also recent reports that the moths spread to a nursery in Colorado from which they infested the Denver Zoo.  There are also unconfirmed reports of the moth from a nursery in New York.

Official Control: Carnation tortrix is considered a quarantine pest in Europe3, China4, Japan5, and presumably additional nations.

California Distribution Carnation tortrix has never been found in the environment of California.

California Interceptions Carnation tortrix has been intercepted twice in 2010 and 2011 on holly and winter daphne plants shipped from nurseries in Oregon to California (PDR 1609360 and 1480160).

The risk carnation tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana) would pose to California is evaluated below.

Consequences of Introduction: 

1) Climate/Host Interaction: The distribution of carnation tortrix indicates that it may establish in plant hardiness zones 7-9. The moth can be expected to establish throughout much of California, excluding high elevation and warm coastal areas of Southern California.  Carnation tortrix receives a Medium(2) in this category.

Evaluate if the pest would have suitable hosts and climate to establish in California:

Score: 2

Low (1) Not likely to establish in California; or likely to establish in very limited areas.

Medium (2) may be able to establish in a larger but limited part of California.

High (3) likely to establish a widespread distribution in California.

2) Known Pest Host Range: Carnation tortrix feeds on more than 160 species of plants in 42 families.  The moth receives a High(3) in this category.

Evaluate the host range of the pest:

Score: 3

Low (1) has a very limited host range.

Medium (2) has a moderate host range.

High (3) has a wide host range.

3) Pest Dispersal Potential: In warmer regions carnation tortrix has 4-6 generations per year and each female lays an average of 430 eggs.  Adults can fly, larvae can balloon by wind, and eggs and larvae can be transported long distances through trade in nursery stock.  Carnation tortrix receives a High(3) in this category.

Evaluate the natural and artificial dispersal potential of the pest:

Score: 3

Low (1) does not have high reproductive or dispersal potential.

Medium (2) has either high reproductive or dispersal potential.

High (3) has both high reproduction and dispersal potential.

4) Economic Impact: Carnation tortrix has not caused significant economic damage during the nearly 60 years that it has been present in the Pacific Northwest.  This may be due to the fact that the moth is likely managed by existing IPM programs in most commercial fruit production.  However, carnation tortrix is documented to have several additional generations per year in warmer climates and may have a more significant impact in California.  One impact could be to organic agriculture; for example, tortricid larvae can evade control beneath the calyx of organic strawberries.  In greenhouses the larvae can cause serious damage by penetrating flower buds and may require control3.  Floral products are a $487 million industry in California so the impact may be significant.  Carnation tortrix is considered a quarantine pest by several nations and its presence in California could lead to a loss of markets, particularly for nursery stock and flowers.  The moth receives a High(3) in this category.

Evaluate the economic impact of the pest to California using the criteria below:

Economic Impact: A, B, C

A. The pest could lower crop yield.

B. The pest could lower crop value (includes increasing crop production costs).

C. The pest could trigger the loss of markets (includes quarantines).

D. The pest could negatively change normal cultural practices.

E. The pest can vector, or is vectored, by another pestiferous organism.

F.  The organism is injurious or poisonous to agriculturally important animals.

G. The organism can interfere with the delivery or supply of water for agricultural uses.

Economic Impact Score: 3

Low (1) causes 0 or 1 of these impacts.

Medium (2) causes 2 of these impacts.

High (3) causes 3 or more of these impacts.

5) Environmental Impact: Because there are already leaf-rolling moths with biologies similar to carnation tortrix in California, the moth is not expected to lower biodiversity, disrupt natural communities, or change ecosystem processes.  However, showy Indian clover (Trifolium amoenum), pacific grove clover (Trifolium polyodon), Monterey clover (Trifolium trichocalyx), and small-leaved rose (Rosa minutifolia) are listed as threatened or endangered plants in California and are potential hosts that could be directly affected by carnation tortrix.  The moth is not expected to disrupt critical habitats.  Carnation tortix may trigger some additional private treatment programs.  The moth is not expected to significantly impact cultural practices, home/urban gardening, or ornamental plantings.  Carnation tortrix receives a High(3) in this category.

Evaluate the environmental impact of the pest on California using the criteria below:

Environmental Impact: B, D

A. The pest could have a significant environmental impact such as lowering biodiversity, disrupting natural communities, or changing ecosystem processes.

B. The pest could directly affect threatened or endangered species.

C. The pest could impact threatened or endangered species by disrupting critical habitats.

D. The pest could trigger additional official or private treatment programs.

E. The pest significantly impacts cultural practices, home/urban gardening or ornamental plantings.

Score the pest for Environmental Impact:

Environmental Impact Score: 3

Low (1) causes none of the above to occur.

Medium (2) causes one of the above to occur.

High (3) causes two or more of the above to occur.

Consequences of Introduction to California for Carnation Tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana):  High(14)

Add up the total score and include it here.

Low = 5-8 points

Medium = 9-12 points

High = 13-15 points

6) Post Entry Distribution and Survey Information: Carnation tortrix has never been found in the environment of California. The record present on the internet and mentioned in the DEEP report refers to an interception on nursery stock shipped from Oregon.  Carnation tortrix receives a Not established(0) in this category.

Evaluate the known distribution in California. Only official records identified by a taxonomic expert and supported by voucher specimens deposited in natural history collections should be considered. Pest incursions that have been eradicated, are under eradication, or have been delimited with no further detections should not be included:

Score: 0

Not established (0) Pest never detected in California, or known only from incursions.

Low (-1) Pest has a localized distribution in California, or is established in one suitable climate/host area (region).

Medium (-2) Pest is widespread in California but not fully established in the endangered area, or pest established in two contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

High (-3) Pest has fully established in the endangered area, or pest is reported in more than two contiguous or non-contiguous suitable climate/host areas.

Final Score:

The final score is the consequences of introduction score minus the post entry distribution and survey information score:  High(14)


There have been no formal surveys for carnation tortrix in California.  It could be present in some locations.

Conclusion and Rating Justification:

Carnation tortrix is an emerging pest of the nursery industry in the United States and is not known to be present in California.  Although it is likely to be managed by existing IPM programs in most fruit production, it has the potential to cause losses and trigger treatment in organic production, nurseries, and the flower industry.  Carnation tortrix is considered a quarantine pest in several nations and could lead to an interruption of markets for California agriculture.  The moth also has the potential to directly affect several threatened and endangered species and to trigger additional chemical treatments in some situations.  These economic environmental consequences justify an “A” rating for carnation tortrix (Cacoecimorpha pronubana).


1Landry, Cynthia.  2013.  Deregulation Evaluation of Established Pests (DEEP); DEEP Report on Cacoecimorpha pronubana Hübner: Carnation Tortrix

2Gilligan, T.M. and M.E. Epstein. 2012.  Tortricids of Agricultural Importance: Cacoecimorpha pronubana.




Responsible Party:

Jason Leathers, 1220 N Street, Sacramento, CA, 95814, (916) 654-1211,[@]

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Pest Rating: A

Posted by ls