Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Apterona helicoidella

Apterona helicoidella (Vallot, 1827)

Apterona helicoidella case

Rumex, Belgium, Angleur, bank of the Ourthe © Jean-Yves Baugnée

Apterona helicoidella case

hibernating, Belgium, Angleur (17.i.2010); © Jean-Yves Baugnée

Apterona helicoidella mines

Helianthemum nummularium, Belgium, prov. Liège, Comblain-au-Pont, Les Roches Noires; © Jean-Yves Baugnée

Apterona helicoidella mines

same mines, underside; the identification is with some reservation, because no cases have been observed


Case helicoid, about 3 mm in diameter, covered with fine sand grains. From this case fleck mines are eaten in a leaf underside. Contrary to Coleophora species, the case is not anchored to the leaf with spinning. This makes that the cases may drop to the ground upon the slightest touch. Abandoned mines can be recognised because the hole that gave the larva entrance to the mine is not neatly circular and obviously misses the fringe of silken stubbles around the margin.

host plants

Strongly polyphagous, mainly on herbs

Achillea ligustica, millofolium; Aegilops geniculata, neglecta; Althaea hirsuta; Alyssum alyssoides; Anthyllis vulneraria; Artemisia vulgaris; Astragalus spruneri; Atriplex; Aurinia sinuata; Berteroa incana; Betula pendula; Carduus acanthoides; Centaurea melitensis; Cerastium; Chrysanthemum; Cirsium creticum; Cistus salviifolius; Clinopodium acinos, vulgare; Coronilla vaginalis; Cynoglossum officinale; Dorycnium; Echium vulgare; Erodium; Erysimum; Euphorbia; Galium; Geranium pyrenaicum, rotundifolium; Hedysarum coronarium; Helianthemum nummularium subsp. grandiflorum; Hymenocarpos circinnatus; Inula oculus-christi; Lavandula stoechas; Linaria vulgaris; Linum usitatissimum; Lotus ornithopodioides, tetragonolobus; Malva neglecta, sylvestris; Medicago polymorpha; Melilotus officinalis; Nepeta cataria; Ononis natrix; Ornithopus compressus; Oxytropis; Polygonum aviculare; Polypodium; Potentilla argentea; Prunella; Reseda phyteuma; Salvia pratensis; Sanguisorba minor & subsp. balearica; Satureja; Scabiosa columbaria; Scorpiurus muricatus; Securigera securidacea; Sisymbrium loeselii; Tanacetum; Teucrium chamaedrys, massiliense; Thlaspi; Trifolium stellatum; Tripodion tetraphyllum; Tuberaria guttata; Verbascum; Viola jordanii, reichenbachiana, tricolor.

Preference for the leaves closest to the ground.


Larvae from autumn till in June (Hering, 1957a).


BE recorded (Phegea, 2009).

NE found rather recently in the province of Limburg (Alders & Gielis, 1999a).

LUX recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2009).

distribution within Europe

Entire Europe, excluding the British Isles (Fauna Europaea, 2009).


Described by Patočka & Turčáni (2005a).


Apterona helix Siebold, 1850; A. crenulella f. parth. helix.


Within this species parthenogenetic and sexual populations occur. The latter are distinguished as forma crenulella (Bruand, 1853). The Fauna Europaea considers crenulella as a separate species that occurs only in southern Europe (sympatrically with helicoidella sensu stricto).

Not long ago the species has been accidentally introduced in the United States, and now forms a serious pest in a number of crops, mainly in the western states (Davis, 1987a); this North-American population is fully parthenogenetic.


Aguiar & Karsholt (2006a), Alders & Gielis (1999a), Amsel & Hering (1933a), Askew, Blasco-Zumeta & Pujade-Villar (2001a), Beiger (1979a), Bengtsson (2008a), Chrétien (1927a), Davis (1987a), Davis & Hermann (1994a), Hering (1921a, 1924a, 1932g, 1936b, 1957a, 1967a), Hermann (1994a), Klimesch & Skala (1936a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), Maček (1999a), Michalska (1970a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a), De Prins & Steeman (2011a), Skala (1948a), Skala & Zavřel (1945a), Szőcs (1977a), Stolnicu (2007a), Ureche (2010a), Zoerner (1970b).

Last modified 15.viii.2022