T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Endrosis sarcitrella ( White-shouldered House moth

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Oecophoridae
Genus: Endrosis
Subfamily: Oecophorinae
Tribe: Oecophorini
Species: E. sarcitrella
Binomial name: Endrosis sarcitrella
Synonyms: Endrosis sarcitrella, Phalaena sarcitrella
Common name: White-shouldered house moth

Endrosis sarcitrell (White shouldered house moth) is a common, cosmopolitan, small species of moth that has been accidentally introduced into many parts of the world with dried stored goods. It is more common in temperate regions. They can breed continuously in stored products if conditions are suitable. It is usually seen in New Zealand from October to March. They occur regularly inside buildings, and being continuously-brooded, can be found at any time of year. It frequents light sources. The larvae’s recorded foodstuffs include dried fruits, cereals, flour, seeds, potatoes, rotting wood, wool, old textiles and the guano in bird’s nests.

The moth has a distinct white shoulder and prothorax, contrasting greyish white forewings that are marked with dark patches. They have a wingspan of 15-20 mm, >8 mm body length and the labial palps are curved upwards. A female moth can lay up to 200 eggs at a time lay eggs in crevices. Egg incubation requires 10 to 58 days, the larval period is 38 to 133 days, and the period from egg to adult is 62 to 235 days. The adults only live about a month.

The larva is a 12mm long, little grub-like caterpillar that is white and has a reddish brown head. The larvae produce silk webbing hideout as they feed. They require very high humidity (80%) to complete development. They pupate in the spring on or near the food source.

Endrosis sarcitrella can be a damaging pest particularly to wine cellars, where the larvae bore into the corks and ruin the wine. Most damage is caused by the by products of the larvae, and is usually only a problem in factory settings. Feeding is done entirely during the larval stage, once they pupate, the moths don't feed and lack the mouthparts to do so.