Theresimima ampellophaga

Theresimima ampellophaga (Bayle-Barelle)

Common name: Grapevine smoky moth, vine bud moth.

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Holometabola, Lepidoptera, Zygaenidae.

Morphology: Adult body bluish-green, length about 10 mm, forewings dark-brown with a golden sheen, hindwings darker.Larva (caterpillar) grey-green, head black, body length 20 mm, dorsum with 4 longitudinal rows of hair-bearing tubercles.

Host plants: Grapes and Parthenocissus ssp.

Distribution: The Mediterranean region, southern Russia.

Life history: The larva overwinters in the top soil and the adults appear in March-April. They feed on grape or Parthenocissus leaf and flower buds, lay about 200 eggs/female and pupate under the bark. A second generation occurs in June or later. Their larvae feed on host leaves till late August, when they enter winter diapause, which lasts till next spring. In warmer areas the pest is bivoltine, whereas in cooler regions it is monovoltine.

Economic importance: Most damage is due to larval feeding on the buds and young grape growth, which results in fewer blossoms and reduced fruit yield. Due to the intensive current pesticide regime in vineyards, nowadays the pest occurs mostly in feral wine stocks, walls overgrown with Parthenocissus, in hedges or in gardens.


Monitoring: Sex pheromone traps baited with the synthetic pheromone of the species are used to follow its seasonal activity. Transparent, red and yellow sticky traps may also be used.

Biological control: The ichneumonid Charops cantator De Geer attacks T. ampellophaga in the Crimea. In Italy it is parasitized by 2 Chalcididae, 2 Tachinidae and single trichogrammatids and braconids. However, their rates of attack do not suffice to control the pest.


Can, F., Demirel, N., Sağıroğlu, E.I., Toshova, T. and Subchev, M. 2010. Employing pheromone traps to establish the distribution and seasonal activity of Theresimima ampellophaga in Turkey. Phytoparasitica 38: 217-222.

Efetov, K.A. 1998. Peculiarities of the biology of Theresimima ampellophaga (Bayle-Barelle 1808) (Lepidoptera, Zygaenidae) and its parasites in Crimea. Abstr. SEL Congress Malle 1998, 43.

Pucci, C. and Dominici, M., 1986. Biological notes and cyclical outbreaks of Theresimima ampelophaga Bayle-Barelle (Lep., Zygaenidae). Journal of Applied Entomology 101: 479–491.

Subchev, M., T. B. Toshova, T.B., Tsitsipis , J.A., Zarpas, K.D.and Margaritopoulos, J.T. 2007. Distribution and seasonal flight of Theresimima ampellophaga (Bayle-Barelle, 1808) in Greece estimated by pheromone traps. Acta Zoologica Bulgarica 58: 345-354.

Subchev, M., Toshova, M., Tóth, M., Voigt, E., Mikulás, J. and Francke, W. 2004. Catches of vine bud moth Theresimima ampellophaga (Lep., Zygaenidae: Procridinae) males in pheromone traps: effect of the purity and age of baits, design, colour and height of the traps, and daily sexual activity of males. Journal of Applied Entomology 128: 44-50.

Tarmann, G.M. 1998. Die Weinzygaene Theresimima ampellophaga (Bayle-Barelle 1808) (Lepidoptera, Zygaenidae, Procridinae). Kehrt ein verschwundener Weinschädling zurück? Stapfia 55: 57–84.

Toshova, T.B., Subchev, M.A. and Tóth, M. 2007. Role of olfactory and visual stimuli in the mating behaviour of male vine bud moths, Theresimima ampellophaga (Lepidoptera: Zygaenidae). European Journal of Entomology 104: 57-65.