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 lithargyrinella Zeller, 1849
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

Sandy Case-bearer


Coleophora lithargyrinella Zeller, 1849. Linn. ent. 4: 394
Coleophora fuscatella Toll, 1952. Z. wien. ent. Ges. 37: 158, pl. 18 fig. 5.


Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Larva mines leaves of Caryophyllaceae. The final case is tubular, 8 mm long, with a dorsal keel which forks and continues as two ridges to the anal end of the case (British leafminers).

The larval case is very distinctive when fully grown as it is a pale pink colour and has a double dorsal keel (UKMoths).

Larva in a trivalved tubular silken case of 8 mm long, with a mouth angle of 25°-30°. The case is pale brown. A unique detail is the presence of a double dorsal keel, but this only occurs when the larva is fully developed: the foremost part of the keel remains single, but already the fork appears before the middle (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Case and mine of Coleophora lithargyrinella on Stellaria holostea

Case and mine of Coleophora lithargyrinella on Stellaria holostea
Image: © Rob Edmunds (British leafminers)

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) (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 male and female genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Caryophyllaceae        
Arenaria       Pitkin & Plant
Cerastium       Pitkin & Plant
Silene dioica Red campion British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Silene uniflora Sea campion British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant, as Silene maritima
Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Caryophyllaceae        
Arenaria serpyllifolia Slender Sandwort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Cerastium arvense Field Mouse-ear British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Cerastium glomeratum Sticky Mouse-ear British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Stellaria media Common Chickweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: May (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Univoltine - being found in June and July (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Very widespread throughout Britain, but is found sparingly and locally (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, Herefordshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeen, North Devon, North Essex, North Wiltshire, Pembrokeshire, South Essex, South Wiltshire, West Gloucestershire, West Kent and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

It favours two habitats, being found in coastal areas, where Sea campion grows, or woodland - where its foodplant is stitchwort (UKMoths).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea). See also Ireland's NBDC interactive map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Arenaria serpyllifolia, Cerastium arvense, Cerastium glomeratum, Silene dioica, Silene uniflora, Stellaria holostea, Stellaria media

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea  
Pholetesor nanus (Reinhard, 1880) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Campoplex tumidulus Gravenhorst, 1829 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Gelis cayennator (Thunberg, 1822) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae


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
UKMoths

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Last updated 01-May-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page