Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Caloptilia cuculipennella

Caloptilia cuculipennella (Hübner, 1796)

feathered slender

on Fraxinus, etc.

Caloptilia cuculipennella: mine on Fraxinus excelsior

Fraxinus excelsior, Hungary, Kimle, 17.vii.2019 © László Érsek

Caloptilia cuculipennella: mine on Fraxinus excelsior

the long initial gallery

Caloptilia cuculipennella: mine on Fraxinus excelsior

leaf rolls

Caloptilia cuculipennella: larva


Caloptilia cuculipennella: cocoon

cocoon in the leaf roll

Caloptilia cuculipennella: pupa

pupa, dorsal view

Caloptilia cuculipennella: pupa

pupa, ventral view

Caloptilia cuculipennella: mine on Fraxinus excelsior

Fraxinus excelsior, Retranchement © Anna Almekinders

Caloptilia cuculipennella: leaf roll on Fraxinus excelsior

leaf roll

Caloptilia cuculipennella mine

Fraxinus excelsior, Belgium, Antoing © Chris Snyers

Caloptilia cuculipennella leaf roll

leaf roll

Caloptilia cuculipennella

Ligustrum ovalifolium, Belgium, Zemst © Jorgen Ravoet

Caloptilia cuculipennella: mine on Fraxinus excelsior

Fraxinus excelsior, Spain, Asturias, Gijon © Jean-Yves Baugnée

Caloptilia cuculipennella: leaf rolls on Fraxinus excelsior

Fraxinus excelsior, Drachten © Gerrit Tuinstra: seven rolls in two leaves

Caloptilia cuculipennella: cocoon


Caloptilia cuculipennella: mines on Fraxinus excelsior

Fraxinus excelsior, France, dép. Haute-Garonne, Avignonet-Lauragais © Catherine Reymonet

Caloptilia cuculipennella: mines on Fraxinus excelsior

several mines in a leaf

Caloptilia cuculipennella: larva in the mine

two larvae in their mine (later leaf rolls have been observed, but were not photographed)

Caloptilia cuculipennella

Fraxinus chinensis subsp. rhynchophylla, België, prov. Limburg, Kerkhoven, den Tip, arboretum, 27.viii.2020 © Carina Van Steenwinkel<

Caloptilia cuculipennella



Larva solitary in an elongate upper-surface epidermal (thence silvery) mine. Frass initially in a rust-coloured central line. Later, when the mine starts to contract and the leaf folds over the mine, the frass is black and concentrated in a corner of the mine. At this point the larva leaves the mine, and starts living freely in a downwards rolled leaflet. In each case in Privet this has the shape of a conical pepperbox with an acute tip, and with the broad base spun to the leaf.

host plants

Oleaceae, oligophagous

Fraxinus americana, angustifolia & subsp. oxycarpa, anomala, chinensis subsp. rhynchophylla, excelsior, latifolia, nigra, ornus, pennsylvanica, quadrangulata, sogdiana; Jasminum; Ligustrum ovalifolium, vulgare; Phillyrea angustifolia; Syringa vulgaris.


Although the literature tells that larvae are found between July and September (Hering, 1957a; Emmet, Watkinson & Wilson, 1985a), last authors write that the adult hibernates, and flies until May. This agrees well with an observation by Jorgen Ravoet, who found larvae on May 6th (2009, Belgium; picture above). In southern England the species seems double-brooded (Young, 2013a).


BE rare and declining (De Prins, 1998a), but perhaps the situation is reversing.

NE only a few very old records, but in 2007 mines have been found by Ben van As.

LUX not recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2008).

distribution within Europe

Entire Europe, except the Iberian Peninsula and Greece (Fauna Europaea, 2008).



Prior to pupation the larva bites a circular exit hole in the pepperbox. The pupa is situated in a white cocoon in a hammock that is set between this exit hole and a point deep in the pepperbox (pictures in Parenti & Varalda, 2000a). The pupa is described by Patočka & Zach (1995a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a).


Coriscium cuculipennellum.


Baldizzone (2004a), Bengtsson & Johansson (2011a), Biesenbaum (2010a), SCS Brown (1947a), Buhr (1935b), Buszko (1992c), Corley, Marabuto & Pires (2007a), Corley, Rosete, Gonçalves ao (2016a), Drăghia (1970a), Emmet, Watkinson & Wilson (1985a), Fazekas & Schreurs (2012a), Hering (1957a), Huber (1969a), Huisman, Koster, Muus & van Nieukerken (2013a), Klimesch (1950c), Kollár & Hrubík (2009a), Kuchlein & Donner (1973a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), Laštůvka & Laštůvka (2011a, 2014a, 2020a), Lhomme (1934c), Opheim (1977a), Parenti (2001a), Parenti & Varalda (2000a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a), Patočka & Zach (1995a), De Prins (2010a), De Prins & Steeman (2011a), Robbins (1991a), Skala (1951a), Skala & Zavřel (1945a), Triberti & Braggio (2011a), Young (2013a).

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