Cochylis hospes

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Cochylis hospes (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Robert Webster
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Cochylis hospes larva on sunflower seeds (click on image to enlarge it)
Author(s): Frank Peairs, Colorado State University
Source: IPM Images

Cochylis hospes (Walsingham, 1884) - (banded sunflower moth)

This small moth is a pest of cultivated sunflower in North America, causing economic damage (Mundal & Brewer, 2008). The moth lays its eggs into the bracts of sunflower heads. The larvae feed first on the bracts, later on the flowers, and starting with the 3rd instar stage on the developing seeds. The fully grown larvae leave the seeds, drop to the ground and pupate in the soil. There is(are) usually one, sometimes two generation(s) per year.

The adult moth has a wingspan of around 12-15 mm. It is light brown, usually with a dark brown, triangular mark in the middle of the forewing, as well as other marks towards the wing tip.