Barbara colfaxiana (Olethreutidae)

Douglas-fir cone moth


Barbara colfaxiana adult moth. The adult is a small moth (wingspan 15-20 mm) with greyish brown speckled forewings.


Barbara colfaxiana larva feeding. Yellowish white caterpillar. Feeding around axis of cone. A proportion of seeds can be consumed by a single caterpillar.


Barbara colfaxiana cocoon. Eggs are laid on flowers in early spring. Young larvae begin feeding on scale tissue but as they mature, feed more on seeds. By the end of July, they pupate in a tough pitch-coated cocoon in the centre of the cone. Pupae may remain in diapause for 1-3 years in the old cones after they have fallen from the trees.

Principal Hosts:

Douglas-fir and true firs.

Economic Importance:

A serious cone and seed pest. B. colfaxiana occurs throughout the range of Douglas-fir but more frequently and causes more serious damage in drier interior regions.

References and Links:

EAG: 547-548, 550; FC: 143.


Additional Images:

Damaged cone with resin and frass around feeding damage. Symptoms of damage caused by a Barbara colfaxiana larva on the outside of a cone.  Eggs laid singly on conelet bracts. Comparison of whole healthy seeds with seeds consumed by B. colfaxiana larvae.