Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Choristoneura houstonana (Grote, 1873)
Grote, 1873 (1)
Cudonigera houstonana (see: Dombroskie & Sperling 2013)
Walsingham, 1879 (2)
Forewing length 7.5-11 mm. (3)
Adult - checkered with raised patches of pale rust and rose lavender scales. Hindwing white. (3)
TN and MS west to CA, with most records from the Plains and Southwest; also coastal SC to MA. This disjunct distribution may be indicative of a cryptic species complex. - Map
Mature larvae present in central Texas primarily from late April to early June. (4)
showing seasonal pattern of larval abundance through time in central Texas. (4)
During the spring and early summer of 2002, an unusual outbreak of the juniper budworm was documented across the following Central Texas counties: Travis, Hayes, Comal, and Blanco.
Two generations per year in TX and OK.
Ashe juniper (Juniperus ashei
) is apparently the only food in Central Texas for the juniper budworm.
The larva of juniper budworm goes through 8-11 instars, or caterpillar stages, as it grows. Then it changes to a pupa from which the adult moth emerges. Life history studies on this insect were done in Kansas where one generation per year was reported. However, records of adult moths in the Texas A&M University insect collection indicate there are probably two generations per year in Texas (labeled specimens showed moths were collected in June and October).
As the larvae feed in the juniper foliage, they construct silken tubes and pupation occurs in the shelter where the larvae fed. Adult moths appear shortly after pupation occurs. In Kansas, larvae overwinter in the infested juniper trees, pupate in late June and July, and emerge as adult moths in July. In Texas, however, the overwintering stage is not known, but it is probably the egg stage or as very young larvae.
The adult moths are about 1/4-inch long and are similar to the color of dead Ashe juniper foliage. They have a mottled tan and brown color pattern on their wings. They are active mostly at night and are attracted to lights. They generally remain at rest on the host plant during the day and only fly when disturbed. Unless they fly, they are difficult to detect. (Texas Forest Service)
It is closely related and similar in appearance to the spruce budworm (Choristoneura fumiferana), a major defoliating insect pest of true firs in the eastern and western forests of the United States and Canada.
Dombroskie, J.J. & F.A.H. Sperling. 2013. Phylogeny of the tribe Archipini (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae: Tortricinae) and evolutionary correlates of novel secondary sexual structures. Zootaxa
3729(1): 1-62. (PDF
Grote, A.R., 1873. I. Description of new North American moths. Bulletin of the Buffalo Society of Natural Sciences
Heinrichs, E.A. 1971. External morphology of larvae of Choristoneura houstonana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae). The Canadian Entomologist 103(1): 12-17.
Heinrichs, E.A. & H.E. Thompson. 1968. The biology of Choristoneura houstonana (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), a pest of Juniperus species. Canadian Entomologist 100(7): 750-763.
Powell, J.A. 1980. Nomenclature of Nearctic conifer-feeding Choristoneura (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): Historical review and present status. USDA Forest Service General Technical Report PNW-100. USDA Forest Service 18pp.
Powell, J.A. 1995. Biosystematic Studies of Conifer-Feeding Choristoneura (Lepidoptera Tortricidae) in the Western United States. University of California Press, Berkeley. 275 pp.
Powell, J.A. & N.S. Obraztsov. 1977. Cudonigera
: a new genus for moths formerly assigned to Choristoneura houstonana
(Tortricidae). Journal of the Lepidopterists' Society
, 31(2): 119-123
Quinn, M.A. 2000. Abundance and distribution of potential arthropod prey species in a typical Golden-cheeked Warbler habitat. Unpublished Thesis. Texas A&M University, College Station. ix + 182 pp.