Seq # 185120040

Caloptilia cuculipennella (Hübner, 1796) Species

Last modified: Sept. 14, 2023, 12:58 p.m.

A fairly common species throughout Belgium. With the present knowledge of leafmines, more frequently observed than in the past.


Family: Gracillariidae > Subfamily: Gracillariinae > Tribus: Gracillariini > Genus: Caloptilia > Species: Caloptilia cuculipennella
Vernacular names
Grauwe steltmot (NL), Feathered slender (EN), Liguster-Blatttütenfalter (DE)
Caloptilia alaudella (Duponchel, 1840) and Parornix avellanella (Stainton, 1854)
First mention in Belgium
De Fré Ch. 1858. Catalogue des Microlépidoptères de la Belgique. — Annales de la Société entomologique belge 2: 45–162. On page 147 (as alaudellum). view page




Wingspan: 12–13,5 mm.
Greyish-white ground colour with brownish dots and transverse lines of which the pre-discal one is the most conspicuous.

Museum specimens

Specimens in nature



Yellowish with light brown head capsule.

No pictures yet!


First instars live in a transparant serptentine mine in which the frass is arranged in a continuous line. Later on the mine becomes a whitish blotch with the black frass concentrated in one corner. When this blotch is enlarged, the leaf edge is turned over it, and the last instars live freely on the leaf.
See also and

No pictures yet!


The free living caterpillars construct a typical, downwards turned, conical leaf roll, sometimes called pepperbox, of which the bases is the broadest. The last instar bites a circular exit hole in that papperbox.
It pupates in a pure white hammock-like cocoon which is attached between this exit hole and another point in the pepperbox. After emergence of the adult, the pupal skin protrudes from the exit hole.
The moths are active during late afternoon around their food plant and later come to light.

No pictures yet!

Flight periods

The adults fly in one generation a year: emerging during September, overwintering and then flying until May.

Observed on

Host plant (species):
Ligustrum vulgare
Host plant (genera):
Fraxinus, Syringa and Ligustrum

The larvae feed on: Ligustrum vulgare, Fraxinus excelsior and Syringa vulgaris.

No pictures yet!