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 albicosta (Haworth, 1828)
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

Gorse Case-bearer

Coleophora albicosta (Haworth, 1828)

Seed-feeder / borer and case-bearer: Initially the larva feeds on seeds, boring into seedpods. It makes a case from calyx parts in late summer, which is covered in hairs, and continues feeding by boring into more seedpods (British leafminers).

Case of Coleophora albicosta
Case of Coleophora albicosta
Image: © Ben Smart (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:

Ulex europaeus Gorse British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Ulex       Belgian Lepidoptera
Ulex europaeus Gorse British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Genista       Belgian Lepidoptera
Genista germanica     Belgian Lepidoptera

Time of year - larvae: July - April. In November the larva makes a case from silk, in which it over winters (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in Britain including Anglesey, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cumberland, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Easterness, Elgin, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Kincardineshire, Merionethshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Essex, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Essex, South Lancashire, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas). Also recorded from Chorlton, Manchester, Lancs (British leafminers), and the Channel Is. (Fauna Europaea).

Also recorded from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Fauna Europaea and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Belgium, French mainland, Portuguese mainland, Sicily, Spanish mainland, The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea)

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Ulex europaeus

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Campoplex volubilis (Holmgren, 1860) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Gelis divaricatus Horstmann, 1993 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

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