Coleophora alcyonipennella (Kollar, 1832)
Clover Case-bearer
(previously known as Ornix alcyonipennella)
COLEOPHORIDAE,   GELECHIOIDEA
 
Don Herbison-Evans
(donherbisonevans@outlook.com)
and
Stella Crossley

Coleophora alcyonipennella
(Photo: courtesy of Donald Hobern, Burrill Lake, New South Wales)

These caterpillars feed on the flowers of species of Clover (FABACEAE) including

  • White Clover ( Trifolium repens ), and
  • Strawberry Clover ( Trifolium fragiferum ).

    The caterpillars live singly in a shelter composed of a single flower floret closed with silk. The caterpillars pupate in their floret which they detach when the flower dies.

    Coleophora alcyonipennella
    (Photo: courtesy of Jean-Francois Landry)

    These adult moths are dark brown or black with an orange metallic iridescence. The moths have a wingspan of about 1 cm. The moth is superficially similar to Coleophora frischella, and can only be distinguished by dissecting the genitalia.

    The species was originally found across Europe and Asia, including

  • Pakistan, and
  • United Kingdom,

    but has been introduced into

  • New Zealand,

    as well as into Australia, and is now occurring in

  • New South Wales,
  • Australian Capital Territory, and
  • Tasmania.


    Further reading:

    L.J. Dumbleton,
    The biology and control of Coleophora spp. (Lepidoptera-Coleophoridae) on white clover,
    New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research,
    Volume 6, June and August, (1963), pp. 277-292.

    Vincenz Kollar,
    Beiträge zur Landeskunde Oesterreich's unter der Enns,
    Wien 2 (1832), p. 99.


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    (written 31 March 2013, updated 2 September 2018)