Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Coleophora artemisicolella

While looking for the Toadflax Brocade larvae last Sunday I also spent a bit of time searching for larval cases of Coleophora artemisicolella on Mugwort. I was looking for the holes the larvae make in the seed heads (see photo on ukmoths) but couldn't find any of these. I did see a couple of suspicious looking seed heads which were browner than the others and attached to other seed heads at odd angles. I thought these might be the larval cases themselves so I took them home for closer inspection. By the next day frass had appeared in the container and one of the seed heads had moved, confirming it was indeed a larval case. Some of the feeding holes have since appeared too.

Coleophora artemisicolella larval case (top right)
Coleophora artemisicolella larval case (centre)
As far as I know there are just two previous South Wales records of this species, both from Carmarthenshire in 2005. Doubtless it is under-recorded as the cases are hard to spot - I just got lucky with the first one, which was sticking out at 90 degrees to the other seed heads on the plant. Worth looking for if you have any good stands of Mugwort locally.


  1. Forgot to say the location was Pengam Moors, ST215766.

  2. I have spent a fair bit of time over the years scouring Mugwort for this species and never found it in the county, so whilst it is likely to be under-recordered, I don't think it is particularly common in south Wales. Another good find!

  3. I believe that it was Barry Stewart who recorded the Carms specimens. I`d found wormwood caterpillars at a brownfield site at Trostre, Llanelli (now sadly built over with the Scarlets rugby stadium) and told Barry, who then also found other moth `goodies`.

  4. Yes that's a good point Dave - I did spend some time looking for it along the banks of the Taff in Gabalfa and Llandaff last year without success (though the density of Mugwort here is lower than at Pengam). Ian - thanks for the info on the Carms records. Your comment highlights the perilous existence of species such as this which are primarily associated with brownfield sites.

  5. The first Carms record was made by Barry on 25/8/05 at Pemberton Tip. The second was made on 5/9/05 by Jon, who found a larval case on Mugwort flowers collected from Pembrey to feed his batch of Wormwood larvae collected at Ian's site.