You might be seeing this caterpillar in soybean

July 6, 2017 7:48 AM
Blog Post

A few of you with eagle eyes have been asking about this unique-looking caterpillar feeding in soybean. The green body and dark head capsule definitely make it stand out compared to other green caterpillars. It’s the obliquebanded leafroller (Choristoneura rosaceana), a tortricid moth. There have been sightings of obliquebanded leafroller from southern Iowa to southern Minnesota this year.

Larvae feed on a wide range of host plants, particularly species within the Rosaceae family (e.g., apple, peach, pear). They will also feed on soybean. The caterpillars wiggle backwards and often drop from plants when disturbed. Older instars will roll leaves together to form protective nests, similar to thistle caterpillars. This species would not be considered an economic pest in Iowa.

obliquebanded leafroller
Obliquebanded leafroller caterpillars are yellow-green to olive-green in color with a dark brown head. Photo by Bruce Potter, University of Minnesota.
obliquebanded leafroller
Adults have beige wings with red tinges. As the common name suggests, the forewings are also crossed with oblique, brown bands. Photo by Mark Dreiling,


Erin Hodgson Professor

Dr. Erin Hodgson started working in the Department of Entomology, now the Department of Plant Pathology, Entomology, and Microbiology, at Iowa State University in 2009. She is a professor with extension and research responsibilities in corn and soybeans. She has a general background in integrated...