Almond moth

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Almond moth
CSIRO ScienceImage 2600 Tropical warehouse moth or almond moth Cadra cautella syn Ephestia cautella.jpg
Caterpillar and moth
Almond moth.jpg
Caterpillar (below) and pupa (above) in peanut husks
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Family: Pyralidae
Tribe: Phycitini
Genus: Cadra
Species: C. cautella
Binomial name
Cadra cautella
(Walker, 1863)

Numerous, see text

The almond moth or tropical warehouse moth (Cadra cautella) is a small stored-product pest. It belongs to the snout moths (family Pyralidae), more specifically to the tribe Phycitini of the huge snout moth subfamily Phycitinae. This species is often confused with the related Indian mealmoth (Plodia interpunctella).

Other common names – particularly in the nonbiological literature – are dried currant moth and fig moth, which invite confusion with the close relatives C. figulilella (raisin moth) and C. calidella (dried fruit moth). C. cautella has achieved an essentially cosmopolitan distribution due to inadvertent transport with its larval food; it has, for example, been transported across Polynesia with copra shipments.[1]

Adults live for about 10 days after eclosion and do not eat, but may drink if water is available. The mating system is polygamous; many females will only mate once, however. In mating, which takes several hours, the abdomens are placed end to end.

It infests flour, bran, oats, and other grains, as well as dried fruits.[2] Caterpillars are cannibalistic and will even feed on their siblings.


Because of its wide distribution and accidental introductions, it has become known under a number of junior synonyms:[3]

  • Cadra defectella Walker, 1864
  • Cryptoblabes formosella Wileman & South, 1918
  • Ephestia cautella (Walker, 1863)
  • Ephestia irakella Amsel, 1959
  • Ephestia passulella Barrett, 1875
  • Ephestia pelopis Turner, 1947
  • Ephestia rotundatella Turati, 1930
  • Nephopteryx desuetella Walker, 1866
  • Nephopterix passulella (Barret, 1875)
  • Pempelia cautella Walker, 1863


  1. ^ Clarke, John Frederick Gates (1986): Pyralidae and Microlepidoptera of the Marquesas Archipelago. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 416: 1–485. PDF fulltext (214 MB!)
  2. ^ Grabe, Albert (1942): Eigenartige Geschmacksrichtungen bei Kleinschmetterlingsraupen ["Strange tastes among micromoth caterpillars"]. Zeitschrift des Wiener Entomologen-Vereins 27: 105–109 [in German]. PDF fulltext
  3. ^ Savela, Markku (2009): Markku Savela's Lepidoptera and some other life forms – Cadra cautella. Version of 2009-APR-14. Retrieved 2010-APR-10.