532 Coleophora albidella
([Denis & Schiffermüller], 1775)Wingspan 13-16 mm.
This species occurs where small-leaved species of willow (Salix) grow, in wet or marshy areas, damp woodland and fixed dunes. It is widely distributed in the southern half of the British Isles.
The adult moth is on the wing in June and July, and often comes to mercury vapour light. It is white with sparse, sometimes obscure, darker speckling, and has a noticeable buff tuft at the base of the antenna.
Recorded foodplants include Creeping willow (Salix repens), and (usually young trees) Eared willow (S. aurita) and Grey willow (S. cinerea). Goat willow (S. caprea) is indicated in Emmet, 1988, but 'is rarely if ever used' (Waters in MBGBI 3).
The larva bores into expanding leaf buds, and later skeletonizes young leaves, rarely mining a leaf in the usual manner of other Coleophora species. It builds a 'pistol case' from silk and fragments of leaf and frass. The sides of the case are usually adorned with hairs from the leaf surface, this feature serving to distinguish it from the similar case of C. anatipennella, which feeds on sloe (Prunus spinosa) and other rosaceous trees and shrubs. Adults of the two species are very similar, and the genitalia should be examined for positive identification.