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 limosipennella (Duponchel, 1843)
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

Dark Elm Case-bearer

Ornix limosipennella Duponchel, 1843. Hist. Nat. Lep. Fr. Suppl. 4: 296.
Coleophora limosipennella
(Duponchel, 1843).

Leaf-miner and case-bearer: This species produces a distinctive larval case in its later stages with a noticeably serrated upper edge, and affixed almost parallel to the leaf surface. The larvae overwinter when small and recommence feeding in late spring (UKMoths).

Oviposition generally in a vein axil. From there a short, relatively wide corridor is made that quickly widens into an elliptical blotch. Much of the frass is ejected through the hole that the larva has made to bore itself into the leaf (in C. badiipennella, on the same host plant, the frass remains within the mine. This blotch is excised to make the juvenile case. The full grown larva lives in a brown spatulate leaf case of 9-11.5 mm; its rear end is bivalved. Mouth angle 0°-20°; just behind the mouth the case shows a conspicuous bend (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Feeding traces and the case are illustrated in the Encyclopedia of Life.

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).

The larva is illustrated in 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:

Ulmus       British leafminers
Ulmus       Pitkin & Plant
Ulmus       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Ulmus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Ulmus glabra Wych Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus minor Small Leaved Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: September to October, feeding again in June and July (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: The elusive adults emerge in June and July (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Distributed mainly in the south and south-east of England (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Cambridgeshire, Denbighshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, North Ebudes, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Radnorshire, Shropshire, South Essex, South Hampshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded from the Republic of Ireland. See also Ireland's National Biodiversity Data Centre Map). (as milvipennis (= limospinella auctorum).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Albania, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands. Also recorded in Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Ulmus glabra, Ulmus minor

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Copidosoma peticus (Walker, 1846) Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae
Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Elachertus fenestratus Nees, 1834 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Campoletis ensator (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Campoplex jaeckhi (Bauer, 1936) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae

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