Seq # 265540010

Phthorimaea operculella (Zeller, 1873) Species

Last modified: Feb. 27, 2024, 11:06 a.m.

A pest species on Solanaceae. This very rare species is mainly observed in the northern part of Belgium. Distribution insufficiently known due to similarity with other species of the family.


Family: Gelechiidae > Subfamily: Gelechiinae > Tribus: Gnorimoschemini > Genus: Phthorimaea > Species: Phthorimaea operculella
Vernacular names
Aardappelmot (NL), Potato tuber moth (EN), Kartoffel-Palpenmotte, Kartoffelmotte (DE)




Wingspan 12–16 mm.

Museum specimens

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Specimens in nature


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The rosy white larva develops usually in potato tubers, but when it emerges on leaves, it forms a gallery and penetrates the fruits, stems and leaves of the food plant. Larval development only above temperatures higher as 10°C. Hibernation as egg and later it pupates in a very narrow whitish cocoon.

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Flight periods

Usually around six generations a year in Mediterranean regions, but it appear usually from April till October with the generations overlapping each other.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Solanum tuberosum and Lycopersicon esculentum

The larva feeds on Lycium europaeum, Lycopersicon esculentum, Nicotinia tabacum and different species of Solanum.

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