Spruce Tortricid Archips oporana
The Spruce Tortricid could have been called the Chocolate Moth, for all colours reminds one of chocolate. The basic colour is that of freshly ground cacao. All over the wings are smaller and bigger speckles and bars in a darker chocolate colour. This species is vary variable in markings, but luckily the colours don't change at all. In some cases there are big patches of browns, especially in the center of the wing and near the edge. In these cases the Spruce Tortricid is quite similar to other Archips species. The wingspan is also very variable and may be anything from 10 to 20 mm.
The larvae of the Spruce Tortricid have a rather vague yellowish green colour. Small black spots are dispersed all over the body. The head is dark: black or brown. After hatching the larvae mine a needle. Usually they enter the needle by a hole drilled near the bottom of the needle. They spin a small web around the infected needle and live inside as long as their size permits. Their excrements are pushed out of the needle and usually get stuck in the little web around the needle. Infected needles are easily recognized. Once too big to live inside a needle, they spin together several needles, between which they finish their development. The larvae are found on a number of conifers, but Scotch Pine and Silver Fir are favoured.
The Spruce Tortricid is on the wing from June to September. It flies by night, but is sometimes discovered during the day resting on a leaf. Is not frequently attracted to light. Used to be very rare in Britain, but is found more frequently lately. Still this is a scarce species of conifer woods and conifer plantations in Southern England. Not found in other parts of the British Isles. On the continent in general a very scarce species too, but locally more common.
For a long time this species was known as Archips piceana.