Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Coleophora lixella

Coleophora lixella Zeller, 1849

downland case-bearer

Coleophora lixella case

from Toll (1962a)


The larve begins its life by eating out the ripe fruit of a floret of Thymus serpyllum. The emptied and dried calyce functions as its first case, in which it hibernates. After hibernation the larva switches to grasses, initially in its original thyme cse. 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 c. 25°, and bears a striking resemblance to a grass spikelet. The case is a composite leaf case: the larva enlarges its case by replacing either the left or the right side completely by a new leaf fragment (causing the left and right side of the case often to have a different tinge.)

host plants

Poaceae; oligophagous

Alopecurus pratensis; Anthoxanthum odoratum; Avenula pubescens; Briza media; Bromus hordeaceus; Dactylis glomerata; Elymus; Holcus lanatus; Koeleria; Ochlopoa annua.

“Oligophagous” strictly is not correct: applies only after hibernation.


Larvae from end of August till end May (Emmet ao, 1996a).


BE recorded (Phegea, 2009).

NE recorded (Kuchlein & de Vos, 1999a;, 2009).

LUX recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2009).

distribution within Europe

Entire Europe, perhaps excluding the Balkan Peninsula (Fauna Europaea, 2009).


Described by Suire (1961a) and Emmet ao (1993a).


In Britain the case may be confused with the one of Coleophora tricolor. This species does not have a composite, but rather a tubular leaf case.


Baldizzone (1979a, 2004a), Biesenbaum & van der Wolf (1999a), Bland (1986a), Corley, Marabuto, Maravalhas ao (2011a), Emmet, Langmaid, Bland ao (1996a), Gielis, Huisman, Kuchlein ao (1985a), Hering (1957a), Ivinskis & Savenkov (1991a), Kuchlein & Donner (1993a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), Leutsch (2011a), Michaelis (1983a), Patzak (1974b), Robbins (1991a), Schütze (1931a), Sønderup (1949a), Suire (1961a), Szőcs (1977a), Toll (1972a), Wegner (2010a).

Last modified 29.x.2021