The Papua Insects Foundation

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The Casebearer moths (Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae) of Papua Indonesia

by Hugo W. van der Wolf

Coleophoridae or casebearers are small- to medium-sized lepidoptera (wingspan 4-24 mm) with narrow fore- and hindwings. When in rest their antennae are stretched forward, while the forewings are folded over hindwings and abdomen. Set specimens can be recognized by two parallel rows of tergal disks on the upperside of the abdomen, covered with small spines.
Larvae live in cases made of leaf material or seeds. They feed on leaves, making round or oval mines through a small hole on the underside, or on flowers and seeds. Most species pupate inside the case. There are also gall-making larvae; they pupate in the stem of the foodplant. The shape of the case and the mines, and knowledge of the foodplant often enable identification of the species. Most species are monophagous. Of most species outside the Palaearctic region the foodplant is not yet known.
Worldwide there are about 1500 species of Coleophoridae, known from all continents, except from southeast Asia and the Pacific region, but two species have been imported, probably from Asia. Coleophoridae are found in a great variety of biotopes: coastal and inland salt marshes, wetlands, deserts, steppes, savanna woodlands, heaths, alpine meadows, tundras, deciduous and coniferous woods, agricultural areas. Some palaearctic species occasionally cause damage to young fruits in orchards. So far no indigenous Coleophoridae have been found in primary tropical (rain)forests, but some palaearctic species have spread with agricultural weeds to other continents.

The checklist is based on all relevant literature and additional collection records.

Listed Papua species: 1

Coleophora Hübner, 1822

seminalis Meyrick, 1921

albiradiata Baldizzone, 1996 [not in Papua yet, but to be expected. Found in Java and Australia]


Baldizzone, G. 1989. A taxonomic review of the Coleophoridae (Lepidoptera) of China. Contribution to the knowledge of the Coleophoridae LIII. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 132: 199-240.
Baldizzone, G. 1996. A taxonomic review of the Coleophoridae (Lepidoptera) of Australia. Contribution to the knowledge of the Coleophoridae LXXXV. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 139: 97-144.
Baldizzone, G. & Wolf, H.W. van der, 2003. A taxonomic review of the Coleophoridae (Lepidoptera) of the Indian subcontinent and Sri Lanka described by Edward Meyrick. Tijdschrift voor Entomologie 146: 1-31.
Baldizzone, G. , Wolf, H.W. van der & Landry, J-F., 2006. World Catalogue of Insects. Vol. 8. Coleophoridae, Coleophorinae (Lepidoptera). Stenstrup.