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Redbud Leafroller (Fascista cercerisella)

Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Redbud Leafroller

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Image Credit: Alex -icycatelf- Bowen
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The small adult moth is worth admiring on its own, but the larval Redbud Leafroller can do some amazing things with foliage.

Updated: 01/05/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
As its name suggests, this moth uses eastern redbud trees as a host plant. The black moth has two large white spots, one by each 'shoulder'. A pair of smaller white spots sits at the outer edge of each wing, and four larger white spots are close to the bottom (two on each wing). This small moth produces a caterpillar with the ability to twirl a leaf using bands of caterpillar silk. The small caterpillar has thin, bands that alternate black and white in color. It stretches rungs of white silk that almost seem like elastic, connecting each end to part of the leaf, cinching the leaf in on itself. This eventually creates a nice rolled leaf that shields the caterpillar from predators and the elements. Numerous caterpillars on a single tree curl up many leaves, making it easy to spot an infestation, and difficult for the affected leaves to properly photosynthesize food for the redbud. Because redbuds are prized for their aesthetics, strategies to control the Redbud Leafroller are typically employed on affected trees.©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Flying insect icon
Patterned insect icon
Striped or banded insect icon

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Lepidoptera
        Family: Gelechiidae
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          Genus: Fascista
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            Species: cercerisella

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Fascista cercerisella
Other Name(s): Redbud Leaffolder
Category: Butterfly or Moth
Size (Adult; Length): 13mm to 16mm (0.51" to 0.62")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: black; white
Descriptors: bands; black-and-white; two big shoulder spots; five white spots; flying

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 13mm (0.5in) and 16mm (0.6in)
Lo: 13mm
Md: 14.5mm
Hi: 16mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Redbud Leafroller may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Redbud Leafroller. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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