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 argentula (Stephens, 1834)
[Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

Yarrow Case-bearer

Porrectaria argentula Stephens, 1834. Ill. Brit. Ins. Haust. 4: 287.
Coleophora argentula
(Stephens, 1834).

Seed-feeder and case-bearer: Larva feeds on seeds and withering flowers. The full-grown case is 6 mm long, roughened with plant material attached to the case (British leafminers).

Pupation takes place within the case (UKMoths).

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:

Achillea       British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Achillea       Belgian Lepidoptera
Achillea millefolium     Belgian Lepidoptera
Achillea ptarmica     Belgian Lepidoptera

Time of year - larvae: September to October (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: A single generation, flying in July and August, sometimes coming to light.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in Southern England and Wales, and is also found in Central Scotland (UKMoths); including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Devon, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Hampshire, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas) and the Channel Is. (Fauna Europaea).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Fauna Europaea).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - South, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Host species unknown

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Agathis anglica Marshall, 1885 Braconidae: Agathidinae
Agathis nigra Nees, 1812 Braconidae: Agathidinae
Encrateola laevigata (Ratzeburg, 1848) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Gelis avarus (Förster 1850) 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