Moths of North Carolina
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View PDFColeophoridae Members: 4 NC Records

Coleophora deauratella Lienig & Zeller, 1846 - No Common Name

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Superfamily: Gelechioidea Family: ColeophoridaeSubfamily: ColeophorinaeP3 Number: 421652.00 MONA Number: 1398.20
Species Status: Recently, larvae of C. deauratella were found causing considerable damage to cul tivated red clover in northeastern Ontario (Landry 199l).
Field Guide Descriptions: Online Photographs: MPG, BugGuide, iNaturalist, Google, BAMONATechnical Description, Adults: Landry and Wright (1993)Technical Description, Immature Stages: Landry and Wright (1993)                                                                                 
Adult Markings: The following description is based on that of Landry and Wright (1993). The head is iridescent silvery brassy or greenish brassy, and the post-ocular scales are dark brown or blackish brown. The labial palp is silvery gray or brassy gray. In males, the antenna scape is slightly tufted and olive brown with a silvery brassy sheen. The proximal three-quarters of the flagellum is uniformly olive brown and the apical quarter white. The first three to four flagellomeres at the base are thickened by an overlay of slightly erect scales, while the rest of the flagellum is thin. Females are similar, except that the erect scales on the scape are more markedly tufted, and the basal third of the flagellum has a dense overlay of slightly erect scales that gives a markedly thickened appearance. The dorsum of the thorax is brassy metallic with a green tinge. The forewing of the male is metallic brassy with a distinct green tinge, and the apex has a slight reddish sheen. In females, the proximal half to two-thirds is metallic brassy green, while the distal third to half has a reddish purple sheen that gradually becomes more pronounced towards the apex. The apex is dark with a purple sheen. The hindwing surface is shiny dark brown or olive brown. The cilia of males are olive brown, versus dark brown in the females. The abdomen is silvery gray with a brassy sheen, with more reddish on the female. Males of C. deauratella are significantly larger than females and have broader wings, and lack the reddish sheen on the distal portion of the forewing. In addition, they have only the extreme base of the flagellum with erect scales so that the antenna seems to lack the thickened proximal portion that is characteristic of females. Females of C. deauratella resemble C. mayrella in having the basal portion of the antenna markedly thickened, but the thin portion of the antenna is not annulated. Compared with C. trifolii, specimens of C. deauratella are smaller on average, have duller, darker green forewings, and have dark brown post-ocular scales (yellow in C. trifolii). The females are easy to distinguish because the basal one-third to one-half of the antenna is thickened. Males can be very similar, and are best separated by their size, the color of the post-ocular scales, and genitalia.
Forewing Length: 6.3-7.8 mm for males; 5.2-6.7 mm for females (Landry and Wright, 1993)
Adult Structural Features: Landry and Wright (1993) have detailed descriptions and illustrations of the male and female genitalia, which are distinctive.
Adult ID Requirements: Identifiable from photos showing hindwings, abdomen, or other specialized views [e.g., frons, palps, antennae, undersides].
Immatures and Development: The eggs are laid on the outer surface of the calyx of clovers. The hatchlings do not make a case, but bore directly into the developing seeds. The first case is not constructed until the fourth instar. In the Northeast, larval cases can be found in the flower heads or seed heads in August and early September (Landry and Wright, 1993). Overwintering takes place as fully grown larvae, either inside the cases in the seed head, or on the ground attached to debris. The mature cases are about 5.5-6.5 mm long and are cigar-shaped, chunky, and dark brown. The apical valves are contrastingly pale yellowish or whitish, and the surface is longitudinally ribbed. The case is constructed of floret petals that are spun together, and the ribbed aspect of the surface is produced by the petal veins. In the immature case, the apex is not yet trivalved (or indistinctly so), and does not have the pale color contrast of the mature case (Landry and Wright, 1993).
Larvae ID Requirements: Identifiable from good quality photos, especially where associated with known host plants.
Distribution in North Carolina
Distribution: Coleophora deauratella is native to Europe, eastern Siberia, and the Middle East. It is thought to have been accidentally introduced into North America sometime shortly before the 1960's. Many specimens in museums and collections are misidentified, so care needs to be taken when considering locality records. Landry and Wright (1993) documented specimens from Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Quebec and Vermont, and noted that this species is probably much more widespread than records indicated at the time. This species has since been documented across most of southern Canada from British Columbia to Nova Scotia, and as far south as North Carolina. As of 2021, we have records from both the Coastal Plain and at lower elevation sites in the mountains.
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Flight Dates:
 High Mountains (HM) ≥ 4,000 ft.
 Low Mountains (LM) < 4,000 ft.
 Piedmont (Pd)
 Coastal Plain (CP)

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Flight Comments: Landry and Wright (1993) noted that the adults are present in the first half of the summer, mostly from mid-June to mid-July. They appear to be univoltine in the Northeast, and possibly bivoltine in some areas based on the appearance of a second group of adults in mid-August. As of 2021, our records are from June and July.
Habitats and Life History
Habitats: The larvae feed on clovers, and local populations are found where Red Clover and other hosts are present. These include roadsides, old fields, meadows, cultivated fields, clearings, and waste places.
Larval Host Plants: The larvae feed on the developing seeds of several species of clover. The two most important hosts appear to be Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) and Alsike Clover (T. hybridum). In Europe, it also uses Rabbitfoot Clover (T. arvense), Zigzag Clover (T. medium), and occasionally White Clover (T. repens).
Observation Methods: The adults are attracted to blacklights. They are also active in late afternoon and early evening until dusk when they fly around their blooming food plants. The larvae and cases are easily detected since the brown cases contrast with the pink florets of Red Clover and other hosts. When feeding on brownish seed heads, the cases of mature larvae have protruding whitish valves that differentiate the cases from the withered clover florets (Landry and Wright, 1993).
Status in North Carolina
Natural Heritage Program Status:
Natural Heritage Program Ranks: GNR SNA
State Protection:
Comments: This is an introduced species that does not merit protection.

 Photo Gallery for Coleophora deauratella - No common name

Photos: 4

Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-15
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-15
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-01
Madison Co.
Recorded by: Jim Petranka and Becky Elkin on 2018-06-01
Madison Co.