Coleophora texanella Chambers, 1878

Landry, Jean-François, Nazari, Vazrick, Dewaard, Jeremy R., Mutanen, Marko, Lopez-Vaamonde, Carlos, Huemer, Peter & Hebert, Paul D. N., 2013, Shared but overlooked: 30 species of Holarctic Microlepidoptera revealed by DNA barcodes and morphology, Zootaxa 3749 (1), pp. 1-93: 36-37

publication ID

publication LSID

persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Coleophora texanella Chambers, 1878


22. Coleophora texanella Chambers, 1878   ( Coleophoridae   )

Coleophora texanella Chambers, 1878: 93   . Type locality: USA, Texas, [Bosque Co.].

= Coleophora vagans Walsingham, 1907: 217   . Type locality: USA, New York, New York City. New synonymy.

= Coleophora coxi Baldizzone & van der Wolf, 2007: 91   . Type locality: Italy: Sicily, Catania Fondachello. New synonymy. BOLD: AAB7072

Palearctic records. Evidently this species was recently introduced in Europe where it was unknowlingly redescribed as coxi   . Reported from Italy, Greece, and France, and adventive.

Nearctic distribution. Widespread in the continental United States, especially in the southern half from

Florida to California, north to New York, Michigan, and Ohio, west to Kansas; also in Mexico (Baja California Sur) and Bermuda (USNM). Specimens were examined from California (several localities) (EMEC, USNM), Colorado (CNC), Florida (CNC, MZH, USNM), Indiana (CNC), Kansas (CNC), Maryland (CNC), Massachusetts (USNM), Michigan (USNM), New York (USNM), North Dakota (USNM), Ohio (CNC), Virginia (USNM). Not recorded from Canada despite the presence of its host plant.

Diagnosis. The forewings are grey brown or ochreous brown, the costa and veins faintly highlighted with dirty white and a thin scattering of dark brown scales; the antenna have alternating pale-dark annulations. In superficial aspect it can be confused with several other Nearctic Coleophora   , although the fauna of the southern half of North America is insufficiently known to make more precise statements about similar species. Genitalia must be checked for positive identification. The only other Nearctic species known to feed on Portulaca   is portulacae Cockerell, which was described from Texas, but it has very different genitalia (JFL, unpubl. obs.). Male genitalia have the gnathos suborbicular, the transtilla short and wide, the valvula linguiform with short and stiff setae, the sacculus with an angulate ventral margin and an outwardly curved dorsal process that is shorter than the cucullus, short and equal juxta rods that are distally attenuate and unarmed, the basal plate of the juxta is extended anteriorly under the outer tube, the latter is longer than the juxta complex, the appendix has four loops, and there is a single thick cornutus with an asymmetrically widened base. Female genitalia have S8 transverse with the posterior margin deeply and broadly U-indented, a thickened crescentic border along the ostium bursae; the colliculum is longer than S8 and narrowly funnel-shaped with a median chitinized band, its anteriormost portion with a half-twist; the ductus bursae lacks a spiculate section, its anterior half has 3–4 loops; and the corpus bursae is elongate-ovoid with a single thorn-like signum.

Larval host. A leaf miner on pigweed ( Portulaca oleracea   , Portulacaceae   ).

Note. Probably more widespread and common than current records show, but unrecognized. The food plant is a common weed that has been spread by human activity. Even though the type material of coxi   was not examined, the high-quality illustrations in the original description of this species leave no doubt that it is a synonym of the Nearctic texanella   . Barcodes from European specimens, including some reared from France referred to by Baldizzone & Nel (2009), matched North American ones. According to Baldizzone (pers. comm. to JFL, 2012) this species has become very common in Italy.

The synonymy of vagans   is here established based on examination of its type and female genitalia matching those of the texanella   type (both examined by JFL). The type of vagans   eclosed from a larval case that was found attached to a grass blade, evidently not a larval host plant but an attachment site for pupation. Attempts to gain a barcode record from the type yielded a low-quality 94-bp sequence with four ambiguous positions (qualified as a ‘fail’ in BOLD), which is insufficiently informative for a clear barcode match. A comparison of that 94bp region with texanella-coxi barcodes shows one unique 3rd position substitution (a fixed difference with the data available) that sets vagans   apart from texanella   / coxi   , plus 0 to 2 more, depending on the haplotype comparison. This amounts to 1.1–3.3% divergence between them, based on this small fragment. Despite failure to obtain an adequate barcode match, we are confident to synonymize vagans   based on morphological similarity of its holotype, which we consider sufficient in this case. The barcode outgroup species labelled ‘n.sp. nr texanella   ’ in Fig. 22 are both very distinct in morphology and barcode. The type of vagans   was collected in New York, whereas that of texanella   was from Texas.

Type material examined. Coleophora texanella   : Lectotype female, present designation by J.-F. Landry, labelled: “Type 1598” [red except for white band at top]; “83” [handwritten]; “Tex.” [printed]; “Chambers.” [printed]; “texanella| Chb.” [handwritten]; “ Holotype | Coleophora   | texanella Ch.   | B. Wright” [red, part printed, part handwritten]; “Photo| 4 March 69| B. Wright” [beige, handwritten]; “genitalia slide| BW 188 ♀ ” [pale green, printed]; “ Lectotype ♀ | Coleophora   | texanella| Chambers, 1878 | by J.-F. Landry 2013” [orange, part printed, part handwritten]. ( MCZ) The uncertainty about the authenticity of many of Chambers ‘types’ was discussed by Miller & Hodges (1990). In this case the original description contains no indication if there was only one or more specimens, although McDunnough (1944) stated that the ‘type’ was a unique female which matched the description well. The ‘holotype’ label inserted by Barry Wright, presumably in the late 1960s, was never published. A lectotype is here designated to maintain stability of usage of the name of a taxon with congeners that look similar.

Coleophora vagans   : Holotype female, labelled: “ N. York City | on grass| Aug. 1888 ” [handwritten]; “Collection| Beutenmueller” [printed]; “487” [handwritten]; “181” [pink, handwritten]; “4928| Wlsm. 1906” [black-bordered, handwritten with ‘Wlsm.’ printed]; “Type| No. 10349| U.S. N.M.” [red, printed with number handwritten]; “ Coleophora   | vagans, Wlsm.   | Type ♀ descr.” [black-bordered, handwritten except ‘Type’ printed]; “genitalia slide| BW 152 ♀ ” [pale green, printed except female symbol handwritten]; “Database #| CNCLEP00061092” [printed]; “Barcode of Life Project| Leg removed| DNA extracted” [blue, printed]. ( USNM). Examined by JFL. Genitalia slide prepared by Barry Wright in 1975, here renumbered USNM 130,228 View Materials . A larval case is pinned on the same block as the type but evidently this is not the one from which the moth issued. Another case attached to a piece of grass is mounted on a separate pin and labelled “N York| on grass| Aug. 1888 ”; “Collection| Beutenmueller” [printed]; “487” [handwritten]; “181” [pink, handwritten]; all in the same hand as the holotype. The following labels were added by Barry Wright: “accompanies| HT. vagans| Wlsm.”; “ Coleophora   | texanella| Cham.| det. B. Wright ‘90”. This separate larval case is the one from which the type eclosed as evidenced by the presence of adult scales and empty pupal shell inside the case. Walsingham (1907) indicated that he had a unique specimen.  


Museum of Comparative Zoology


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History














Coleophora texanella Chambers, 1878

Landry, Jean-François, Nazari, Vazrick, Dewaard, Jeremy R., Mutanen, Marko, Lopez-Vaamonde, Carlos, Huemer, Peter & Hebert, Paul D. N. 2013

Coleophora coxi

Baldizzone, G. & van der Wolf, H. 2007: 91

Coleophora vagans

Walsingham & Lord T. de 1907: 217

Coleophora texanella

Chambers, V. T. 1878: 93