Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Coleophora silenella

Coleophora silenella Herrich-Schäffer, 1855

on Silene

Coleophora silenella: case

case on Silene nutans (from Patzak, 1986a)


The young larva lives in the capsules, feeding on the developing seeds, without any visible sign at the outside. Only in its latest instar it bites from the inside a hole in the wall of the capsule, the closes it wich much elastic silk. By continuous pushing against the silk this is pulled into a tube, that will form the definite tube (more in Emmet ao). This is a dark greyish brown, 8 mm long, trivalved tube with a mouth angle of ± 40°. From this case holes are bitten in the walls of new capsules and the contents devored.

host plants

Caryophyllaceae, monophagous

Silene italica, nutans, otites, vulgaris.


Larvae in cases around August. The larvae are full fed in September and leave the host plant.

distribution within Europe

Missing from Scandinavia, Ireland, Greece, the Mediterranean Islands and perhaps the Iberian Peninsula (PESI, 2018).


The moth has in the past been confused with Coleophora ciconiella Zeller, 1849, that lives on grasses. Also with C. nutantella is the species closely related; Patzak (1976a) discusses the few differences. Emmet ao have synonymised silenella and nutantella, but this turned out incorrectly.


Baldizzone (1979a, 1987a), Baldizzone & Hartig (1978a), Baldizzone & van der Wolf (2000a), Burmann (1992a), Emmet, Langmaid, Bland ao (1996a), Fusu (2017a), Ivinskis & Savenkov (1991a), Kasy (1965a), Kaltenbach & Roesler (1985a), Klimesch (1950c, 1958c), Nel (1991a, 1992b), Patzak (1969b, 19i74a, 1976a), Pinzari, Pinzari & Zilli (2013a), Robbins (1991a), Schütze (1931a), Segerer, Neumayr, Pröse & Kolbeck (1994a), Szőcs (1977a), Wimmer (2004a).

Last modified 22.ii.2023