Apple and thorn skeletonizer

The apple and thorn skeletonizer, Choreutis pariana, can be found feeding on several host plants grown in Pacific Northwest nurseries. Hosts include apple, birch, crabapple, cherry, hawthorn, willow, and mountain ash. A recent infestation on crabapple highlighted feeding preferences. "Snowdrift' and 'Spring Snow' were obviously preferred hosts, and to a lesser degree, Malus floribunda.

The eggs are laid on the leaf underside near the midrib. Developing larvae feed on underleaves. They move to the upper side of the leaf, tying the edges together and feeding there until they pupate. It is reported to overwinter as a pupa in the Pacific Northwest.

Damage consists of skeletonization of the leaf, best seen holding the leaf toward light.


Johnson, W. T. and H. H. Lyon. 1991. Insects that Feed on Trees and Shrubs. 2nd Ed. Cornell University Press. Itaca, NY.


WSU Extension Insect Answers: Apple and thorn skeletonizer.

Great photos of the adult moth at this Swedish website.

Another nice adult shot at this UK website.

And from the Electronic Journal of Polish Universities, information on the skeletonizer and its parasitoids.

Original version: <27 September 2005)

Last revision <29 November 2016>

Author: R.L. Rosetta, Extension Nursery Integrated Pest Management, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University/NWREC.


Page last modified 11/29/16

Apple and thorn skeletonizer larvae, silk, and feces

Leaf webbing and larva of skeletonizer on crabapple.

Skeletonized leaf damage on crabapple - view from underneath.

Skeletonized crabapple leaf.

Crabapple branch damage from the skeletonizer.

Damage on crabapple in field - note brown leaves.