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 lixella Zeller, 1849
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

Downland Case-bearer


Coleophora lixella Zeller, 1849. Linn. Nat. 4: 231.


Seed-feeder, leaf-miner and case-bearer: Initially it feeds on the seeds of thyme and then uses the seedhead as a case. It overwinters in this case and starts feeding again in March on grass spp. It then makes a case from the mined blade of grass (British leafminers)

The larva initially feeds on the seeds of thyme, feeding within a floret and using this as its case. After overwintering, it changes foodplants to grass, and eventually forms an elongated case from two grass blade portions sewn together (UKMoths).

The larva begins its life by eating out the ripe fruit of a thyme floret. The emptied and dried calyx functions as its first case, in which it hibernates. After hibernation the larva switches to grasses, initially in its original thyme case. Later a new case is made out of a mined grass leaf. This final case is about 11 mm long, two-valved, straw-coloured, has a mouth angle of 25°, and bears a striking resemblance to a grass spikelet (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 Suire (1961a) and Emmet et al. (1993a) (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 by Jon Baker. The male and female genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Lamiaceae        
Thymus       British leafminers
Thymus       Pitkin & Plant
Poaceae      

 

Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Briza media Quaking-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire-fog British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Poaceae        
Alopecurus pratensis Meadow Foxtail British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Avenula pubescens Downy Oat-grass   Bladmineerders van Europa
Briza media Quaking-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Bromus hordeaceus Soft-brome British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Elymus       Bladmineerders van Europa
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire-fog British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Koeleria       Bladmineerders van Europa
Poa annua Annual Meadow-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: August - May.

Time of year - adults: The adult moths fly in July and August, and can be found on the wing in the afternoon as well as after dark (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Widespread in Britain including Anglesey (VC52), Bedfordshire (VC30), Caernarvonshire (VC49), Denbighshire (VC50), Derbyshire (VC57), East Sussex (VC14), Glamorganshire (VC41), Kincardineshire (VC91), North Hampshire (VC12), North Somerset (VC6), South Wiltshire and Surrey (NBN Gateway) and the Channel Is. (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

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

NBN Grid Map:

NBN Grid Map

Coleophora lixella
NBN Grid Map : NBN Terms and Conditions

Maps are only displayed if the NBN server is active. N.B. Only publicly available records, if any, are shown by default

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

NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:

Alopecurus pratensis, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Briza media, Bromus hordeaceus, Dactylis glomerata, Avenula pubescens, Holcus lanatus, Poa annua

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
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Gateway
NHM UK Checklist
UKMoths

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Last updated 29-Jul-2016  Brian Pitkin Top of page