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


Coleophora kuehnella (Goeze, 1783)
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

White Oak Case-bearer

Tinea kuehnella Goeze, 1783
Tinea palliatella Zincken, 1813. Germar Mag. ent. 1 (1): 40. [Synonymy: see Baldizzone, 1996]
Coleophora kuehnella
(Goeze, 1783).

Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Initially feeds underside of the leaf making tiny holes in groups. The larva feeds into November then overwinters attached to the angle of a twig. In the spring and constructs a case as shown with a large 'pallium' of scales - the autumnal ones being blackish (British leafminers).

The full grown larva lives in a black pistol case of c. 8 mm, with a mouth angle of c. 90°. The case is covered by a silken mantle (pallium) that hangs from its rear end, and almost covers the case, giving it the general aspect of a bird dropping. The larva mines the leaf from the underside, making many, unusually small fleckmines, up to about 30 together (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).

Described by Emmet et al (1996a); there are three pairs of abdominal prolegs (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Pupa: The pupae of moths have visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Quercus       British leafminers
Quercus       Pitkin & Plant (as C. palliatella)

Hosts elsewhere:

Quercus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus rubra Red Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: September - June (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in England including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Dorset, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Shropshire, South Hampshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

A local species preferring the sunny edges of woods and rides (British leafminers).

Distribution elsewhere: Widepread in continental Europe including Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central and South, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Also recorded in the Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Quercus robur, Quercus rubra

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Therophilus mediator (Nees, 1814) Braconidae: Agathidinae
Diadegma armillatum (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Diadegma neomajale Horstmann, 1969 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Gelis areator (Panzer, 1804) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Itoplectis maculator (Fabricius, 1775) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

External links: Search the internet:

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

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Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page