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 mayrella (Hübner, 1813)
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

Meadow Case-bearer

Tinea mayrella Hübner, 1813. Samml. Europ. Schmett. 47: 322
Porrectaria spissicornis Haworth, 1829. Lep. Brit.: 537
Coleophora mayrella (Hübner, 1813).

Seed-feeder and case-bearer: The larva feeds on ripening seeds and makes a case from the floret and is fully fed by early August (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).

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:

Trifolium repens White Clover British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Trifolium repens White Clover British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Trifolium repens White Clover British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera

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

Time of year - adults: The adults fly during the day as well as after dark when they are attracted to light. June and July is the main flight period (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: A widely distributed species throughout Britain & Ireland, which is common in places. It frequents grassy areas and waste ground (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, Durham, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Middlesex, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Lancashire, South Somerset, South Northumberland, South Wiltshire, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland, Worcestershire and Shetland (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Macedonia, North Aegean Is., Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - South, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Yugoslavia. Also recorded in the East Palaearctic, Near East, North Africa, Australian region, Nearctic region and Neotropical region (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Trifolium repens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:


Pteromalus semotus (Walker, 1834)

Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Bracon osculator Nees, 1811 Braconidae: Braconinae

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