- Subfamily: Tortricinae, Cochylini
- Wingspan: 15-25 mm
- Flight period: Jun - Sep
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Asteraceae (Centaurea sp.)
The Agapeta zoegana also known as Knapweed Conch is a moth of the Tortricidae family, subfamily Tortricinae,
with wingspan of about 15-25 mm.
Distributed in most of Europe with the exception of Portugal and Croatia. *
It was introduced to the central-western United States in 1980 as a biological control agent for Centaurea nigra (dark cornflower). This moth reduces the spread of plants where mechanical and chemical control is not practicable, and its use is encouraged as it does not damage other types of plants. ***
In Italy it is absent from the islands. *
The front wings of the Agapeta zoegana have a bright yellow color, with the external margin, part of the costa and the internal margin of brown color.
From the apex starts a brown band that with a curved trend joins the internal margin, keeping a yellow area of dimensions inside conspicuous and variable in shape, from almost circular to triangular with rounded vertices.
A brown spot is present in the discal region near the inner margin, as is the basal region of the coast. The hind wings are faded brown and translucent. The wings are fringed. **
Adults emerge over a 12-week period of pupation, from mid-June to early September. Females mate within 24 hours of birth and lay eggs a day or so later. ***
The adult is attracted to artificial light.
The eggs are laid on the stalks and leaves of the cornflower and hatch in a period ranging from 7 to 10 days. The larvae migrate to the root area and begin to feed; in the root they overwinter to pupate in spring. *** If they require additional food, the larvae can move across the ground to adjacent plants. ****
Larval feeding can cause death in small plants and in plants infested with multiple larvae. It is found in all environments where the host plant is present.
The larva is very light brown with an ocher head. The pupa is brown, glossy. **
The larvae of Agapeta zoegana feed mainly on Centaurea sp. such as Centaurea jacea, Centaurea nigra and Centaurea paniculata, but there are reports on other Asteraceae such as Jurinea mollis and on Dipsacaceae such as Scabiosa columbaria
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/
*** Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences - https://biocontrol.entomology.cornell.edu/weedfeed/Agapeta.php
**** Ministry of Forests and Range British Columbia - Biological Control Pest - https://testwww.for.gov.bc.ca/hra/Plants/downloads/Biological_Control_Agent-secondaries.pdf