The leaf and stem mines of British flies and other insects

(Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera)

by Brian Pitkin, Willem Ellis, Colin Plant and Rob Edmunds

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Coleophora albicans (Zeller, 1849)
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

Wormwood Case-bearer

Coleophora albicans (Zeller, 1849).
Coleophora artemisiella
(Scott, 1861)

Leaf-miner, seed / flower feeder: The larva starts to mine the leaves and then later feeds on flowers and seeds (British leafminers, as C. artemisiella).

Squat tubular silken case of 6-7 mm. The front half is covered with felt, the rear half is greyish with some darker length lines. The case is trivalved, the mouth angle is c. 15-30°. The larva not only lives on the leaves, but also feeds in the inflorescence (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Larva: The larvae of moths have a head capsule and chewing mouthparts with opposable mandibles (see video of a gracillarid larva feeding), six thoracic legs and abdominal legs (see examples).

Pupa: The pupae of moths have visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).The larval case is also illustrated in UKMoths.

The larva leaves the food plant, when fully fed in September, and attaches its case low down on a stem. The case is trivalved and has longitudinal stripes (British leafminers, as Coleophora artemisiella).

Adult: The adult is not illustrated in UKMoths (check for update). The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Artemisia maritima Sea Wormwood   British leafminers, as Coleophora artemisiella

Hosts elsewhere:

Artemisia absinthium Wormwood British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Artemisia campestris Field Wormwood British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Artemisia maritima Sea Wormwood   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: August - June (British leafminers, as Coleophora artemisiella).

Time of year - adults: July - August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: England including Durham, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, North Essex, North Northumberland and West Norfolk (NBN Atlas). It can be found on the edges of salt marshes on the East coast (British leafminers, as Coleophora artemisiella).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - South, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine. Also recorded from the East Palaearctic and Near East (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Artemisia absinthium, Artemisia campestris, Artemisia maritima

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.

External links: Search the internet:

Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers, as C. artemisiella
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
NHM UK Checklist, as C. artemisiella

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Last updated 13-Apr-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page