The leaf and stem mines of British flies and other insects
 

(Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera)

by Brian Pitkin, Willem Ellis, Colin Plant and Rob Edmunds

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MESPILUS. Medlars. [Rosaceae]


Two species of Mespilus, Medlar (M. germanica) and Haw Medlar (M. germanica x Crataegus laevigata = x Crataemespilus grandiflora), are recorded in Britain. Both are introduced.

Eighteen British miners are recorded on Mespilus.



Key for the identification of the known mines of British
insects (Diptera and non-Diptera) recorded on Mespilus


1a > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The larva lives outside the mine, protected by a case, and feeds on the underlying plant tissues via a hole cut in the epidermis. From that point it eats away as much leaf tissue as it can reach without fully entering the mine. Mine does not contain frass (Coleophora species)

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1b > Leaf-miner, but not a case-bearer: The larva lives mainly inside the mine. Mine usually contains frass. In later instars the larva may live sandwiched between two more or less circular sections cut from the leaf.

3

2a > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The species spends two years as a larva, the first one-and-a-half years in a small pistol-case, and in the second spring building a long straight case which is dark brown and rather distinctive (UKMoths). The lava lives from autumn until summer next year. In autumn a composite leaf case is made, shaped like the handle of a walking stick. Early in the following spring a tubular leaf case is made that in the end is rather large (10 mm) and is positioned vertically on the leaf; mouth angle 90° (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus, Sorbus and Spiraea elsewhere. Occurs locally in the south east of England and the Channel Is. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora hemerobiella (Scopoli, 1763) [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2b > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The larva feeds by inserting its head into small mines it creates on the leaves of birch, elm, alder, or hazel. Occasionally it is found feeding on other trees, or on herbaceous plants onto which it has accidentally Fallén. It forms two cases during its larval life. The first case is initially curved, smooth, laterally compressed with a bivalved anal opening, and about 2 mm long in September. During October it feeds, and adds a few rough collars of larval material around the oral opening. After hibernation, it feeds again in April and early May, adding more protruding collars until they equal or exceed the original smooth part of the case. At the same time, it expands the case girth by the creation of a silk gusset ventrally. The second case, 6 or 7 mm long, is formed in May, leaving the vacated first case attached to its last feeding mine. The new case is tubular with a trivalved crimp at the anal opening. The dorsum is formed from the edge of the leaf from which the case was cut. This results in a more or less serrated dorsal keel, depending on the plant species and the individual piece of leaf used. Considerable variation in the degree of serration can be found, even among specimens off the same tree. The case colour varies with food plant, from yellowish brown on birch, darkening through elm and hazel to dark brown on alder (UKMoths). The strongly curved young case is is a composite leaf case, the adult case is a tubular leaf case. The adult case is bivalved, about 7 mm in length; the mouth angle is around 30°. The case is straw coloured and almost always has a toothed dorsal keel (remnant of the margin of the leaf from which the case was cut). Neither larvae or cases of C. coracipennella, prunifoliae, serratella and spinella can be separated; from serratella (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Alnus, Betula, Corylus, Ulmus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain plus Carpinus, Mespilus, Ostrya, Hippophae, Ribes, Myrica, Forsythia, Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Eriobotrya, Malus, Prunus, Sorbus, Spiraea, Populus and Salix elsewhere. This is probably the commonest species of British coleophorid, and is found throughout the British Isles. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora serratella (Linnaeus 1761) [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2c > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Larva in autumn forming a few small mines. Feeding restarts in the same case in spring before changing to a new case by late April. In spring the cases or mines cannot be reliably separated from those of C. coracipennella or C. prunifoliae (British leafminers). The larva lives two years. In the first year, in autumn, a composite leaf case is made that resembles a boomerang: front and rear end stand at almost right angles. In its second year the larva makes a trivalved tubular leaf case of about 6 mm, with a mouth angle of c. 45°; the case tapers somewhat to both ends (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain plus Mespilus elsewhere. Widespread in England and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Coleophora spinella (Schrank, 1802) [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2d > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The larva feeds on a wide range of trees, shrubs and herbs, favouring Rosaceae, but not exclusively. The fully developed cased larva may be found active in October and again, after winter diapause, in April. Cases, about 6 mm, of diapausing larvae may be found through winter, fixed to a tree or fence post. The dorsal surface of the case is usually covered in leaf fragments, but they can sometimes be worn off almost smooth. The ventral surface is swollen at the middle and has a keel, which usually bends upwards at the posterior. The cases of C. ahenella (on Rhamnus, Frangula, Viburnum and Cornus) and C. potentillae (case less swollen, keel not bent up, resting position less prone) are very similar (UKMoths). Brownish lobe case that lies almost flat on the leaf, either on the upper or on the lower side. Case widest about the middle. Ventrally there is a distinct keel. Mouth angle 0°. Full depth mines rather large. The flaps of cuticular tissue that serve to enlarge the case are cut out of the upper epidermis. (contrary to C. ahenella and C. potentillae, that use tissue from the lower epidermis). The removal of these tissue flaps creates holes that are much larger than those that serve as the entrance to the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Coleophora violacea larva,  lateral
Coleophora violacea larva, lateral
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Polyphagous. On numerous genera and species in several plant families, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain. On numerous genera and species in several plant families, including Mespilus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Coleophora violacea (Ström, 1783) [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

3a > Leaf-miner: The larvae initially mining the leaves in a short, contorted gallery. As the larva develops it leaves the mine to feed externally, creating windows on the upperside of the leaves (UKMoths). Oviposition at the leaf upperside, egg shell iridescent. Small, hook-like corridor, mostly in a vein axil. Frass in a very thick central line. The larva soon leaves the mine through an untidy hole and subsequenty feeds living freely on the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation occurs in a ribbed white cocoon spun on debris. The winter is passed in this stage. (UKMoths).

On Crataegus, Malus, Pyrus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyracantha, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread throughout England and southern Scotland. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Bucculatrix bechsteinella (Bechstein & Scharfenberg, 1805) [Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae].

3b > Leaf-miner: The larvae form galleries along the edge of the leaf, leading to the development of large blotches on the leaf margin (UKMoths). Oviposition on the leaf underside. There begins a full depth corridor that gradually widens into an irregular elliptic blotch. Generally the corridor part for a large stretch follows the leaf margin. If oviposition occurred well away from the leaf margin, the corridor starts by making some irregular loops around the oviposition site; however, when, as often occurs, the egg is placed close to the leaf margin, at once the leaf margin is mined. Frass blackish brown (rarely brown) in the corridor, black in the blotch. In the corridor the frass lies in lumps or indistinct coils; in the blotch the frass is irregularly dispersed. Pupation outside the mine; exit slit in the upper epidermis, contrary to Bohemannia pulverosella, with which atricollis may co-occur on Apple (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, Malus and Prunus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Crataegus, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyrus and Staphylea elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Ectoedemia atricollis (Stainton, 1857) [Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae].

3c > Leaf-miner: A circular or oval brownish blotch with a central spiral of dense blackish frass (British leafminers), sometimes several mines in one leaf (UKMoths). Oviposition is at the leaf underside, well away from the leaf margin; the egg has a fine reticulate surface. The mine is a rather large, perfectly circular blotch without a trace of a preceeding corridor. Around the dark centre the frass, glued to the upper epidermis is arranged in distinct arcs (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation in a silken cocoon, usually on detritus (British leafminers).

On Betula, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus, Rosa and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and on Alnus, Betula, Amelanchier, Aronia, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread in England and into Southern Scotland. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Leucoptera malifoliella (O. Costa, 1836) [Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae].

3d > Leaf-miner: A long, whitish smoothly-curved upper-surface mine with broken black frass (British leafminers). Oviposition is by means of an ovipositor; what remains is a small scar: no egg shell is visible at the start of the mine. From here a long, sometimes very long, slender, full depth corridor winds throught the leaf, not steered by leaf margin or the leaf venation. The midrib is crossed effortless; the corridor frequently also crosses itself; the section of the leaf cut off then usally turns brown and dies off. Frass in a narrow central line. The larva vacates the mine prior to pupation through an exit in the upper epidermis. The vacated larval chamber is proportionally much longer than in the case of Stigmella mines ( > 3 x longer than broad) (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation in a silken cocoon suspended from threads attached to food plant or other vegetation (British leafminers).

Polyphagous. On numerous genera and species in several plant families, including Mespilus, in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Lyonetia clerkella (Linnaeus, 1758) [Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae].

3e > Leaf-miner: The larva mines the leaves of various roseaceous trees, such as blackthorn and apple, forming a gallery leading to a blotch (UKMoths). Eggs are deposited in the underside of a leaf, well away from the margin, often several per leaf. Around the oviposition site a cavity develops that in the end often leaves a hole in the leaf. Then a narrow, hardly widening, winding corridor, largely filled with a broad reddish brown frass line. The corridor abruptly widens into a wide, full depth blotch, that often lies against the leaf margin. The larva may leave its mine and continue elsewere, even on a different leaf. Note that the first blotch may already lie on a different leaf. Frass dispersed, in oval granules. Most frass is ejected through semicircular cuts along the outer limit of the blotch; part of it is often trapped in strands of silk under the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa). The pupal cocoon is suspended from silken 'guy ropes' and closely resembles that of L. clerkella (UKMoths).

On Betula, Chaenomeles, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Betula, Chaenomeles, Cotonneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Formerly locally resident in parts of southern and central England, this moth seems to have died out as a British species and has not been reliably encountered since around 1900. Widespread in continental Europe.

Lyonetia prunifoliella (Hübner, 1796) [Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae].

3f > Leaf-miner: In a small Phyllonorycter-like mine initially, but with brown rather than green lower epidermis. Later in two or more successive cones formed by folding leaf-lobes downwards (British leafminers). The mine begins at a flat, iridescent egg shell. It starts as an epidermal corridor, widening into (and mostly over run by) a shallow lower surface blotch in the tip of a leaf segment. The lower epidermis is off-grey with small light brown spots at first, but soon turns brown. Silk is deposited within the mine, causing it to contract. This wrinkles the lower epidermis, but there are no clear folds formed. Soon the larva starts consuming the palissade parenchyma, and the upperside of the mine than turns brown as well. Frass in loose grains. After some time the larva leaves its mine and continues living free under a downfolded leaf segment, kept in place by some spinning. Here too the leaf tissue is consumed up to the palissade parenchyma, browning the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, Fragaria and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Amelanchier, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, X Crataemespilus, Fragaria, Mespilus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Parornix anglicella (Stainton, 1850) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3g > Leaf-miner: The mine is in the upper epidermis of a leaf, usually over midrib or vein. The mine is at first silvery, later with brown speckling (British leafminers). Silvery, upper-surface, epidermal tentiform mine, centered over the midrib or a heavy lateral vein. Unlike P. leucographella, with which this species shares some host plants, the upper epidermis looks dirty by the presence of numerous fine black-brown specks of frass. The epidermis remains without folds until the mine becomes strongly contrated. Young mines look like a streak of silver on top of a vein (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Betula, Crataegus, Malus, Pyrus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Betula, Fagus, Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyrus, Sorbus and Spiraea elsewhere.

Phyllonorycter corylifoliella (Hübner, 1796) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3h > Leaf-miner: Lower-surface, yellow-green tentiform mine, 20-32 mm long, with a number of fine folds in the lower epidermis. In most cases the mine is elongate, situated between two lateral veins. The reddish to chestnut brown pupa lies in a flimsy cocoon in which no frass is incorporated: the frass is stored not in a clump but in a row of loose grains behind the cocoon. Just before edcysis the pupa works itself out of the mine through the lower wall; mostly the empty exuvium sticks halfway out of the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Phyllonorycter mespilella on Sorbus
Mine of Phyllonorycter mespilella on Sorbus
Image: © Martin Gray (British leafminers)

On Pyrus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Amelanchier, Cotoneaster, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus and Sorbus elsehwere. Recorded in East Kent, Hereford, Hunts, Surrey and Worcester in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter mespilella (Hübner, 1805) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3i > Leaf-miner: The mine is often in the lobe of the leaf. There are many creases in lower epidermis, which is strongly contracted, causing lobe or leaf-edge to fold over (British leafminers). Rather small, lower-surface, tentiform mine with a yellow-green epidermis that has a number of folds. Pupation within the mine. The pupa of the summer generation in a quite flimsy cocoon; in the autumn generation there is more, golden, silk. All frass in a clump in the distal angle of the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, Cydonia and Pyrus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Crataemespilus, Crataegus, Cydonia, Mespilus, Pyracantha, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae (Frey, 1856) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3j > Leaf-miner: The young larva mines the leaves of its foodplant then hibernates. It will then mines leaves or flowerbuds, then blossom or leaves (British leafminers). Branched, sometimes stellate, brownish, very transparent, sometimes long corridor that contains no frass. All frass is ejected through a number of tiny openings that generally are close to a vein. Only the young larvae are miners (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Malus, Prunus and Pyrus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Now and then the species is recorded from Corylus avellana, Rhamnus and Betula. Recorded in England, from York southwards. Widespread in continental Europe.

Recurvaria nanella (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775) [Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae].

3k > Leaf-miner: Usually a very small (but see below), pear-shaped, upper-surface blotch, most of it stuffed with reddish brown frass. Often several mines in a leaf. Ovipisition is already in May, but the larvae hatch late and initially develop very slowly; only against the end of summer the mines become apparent. The larvae remain in the mine and hibernate in the fallen leaves. The bright-coloured frass and their large number makes these mines very conspicuous in autumn, despite their small size. The weevils feed pinhole-sized windows in the leaf upperside (maturation feeding) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Rhamphus oxycanthae
Minee of Rhamphus oxyacanthae on Crataegus monogyna
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)
Rhamphus oxyacanthae larva,  dorsal
Rhamphus oxyacanthae larva, dorsal
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Crataegus, Prunus, Mespilus and Sorbus, but not yet on Amelanchier, Malus or Pyrus, in Britain and Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread in England and continental Europe.

Rhamphus oxyacanthae (Marsham, 1802) [Coleoptera: Curculionidae].

3l > Leaf-miner: The reddish frass is linear, later in arcs, finally dispersed (British leafminers). Long corridor, that widens only little, and winds freely through the leaf, not influenced by the venation. In thick, sun-exposed leaves the mine may be much shorter, especially in Cotoneaster, Malus and Pyrus. Frass brown, in arcs. (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Malus, Pyrus and Sorbus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Amelanchier, ? Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataemespilus, Crataegus, Crataemespilus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Stigmella oxyacanthella (Stainton, 1854) [Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae].

3m > Leaf-miner: The initial gallery is narrow and is filled with red-brown coiled frass. It then turns abruptly to form a blotch with a thin line of blackish frass, which may be coiled or irregular (British leafminers). Egg mostly at the underside of the leaf, generally close to the leaf margin, sometimes on the petiole. The mine begins as a corridor that usually follows the leaf margin. The frass here is warm brown in colour and is indistinctly coiled. After a moult the larva starts making an elongate blotch; generally its direction is opposite to that of the initial corridor (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, but not yet on Mespilus, in Britain and Crataegus and Mespilus elsewhere. Widespread in southern half of Britain and continental Europe.

Stigmella regiella (Herrich-Schäffer, 1855) [Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae].

3n > Leaf miner. The egg is deposited in the base of the midrib. After oviposition the female severes the petiole, causing the petiole to break. The leaf start to wilt and falls, but still remains green for a considerable time. The larva tunnels in the midrib, and makes from there broad, full deep blotches in the lamina. Frass dispersed in the mine. Often several larvae in a leaf. Pupation in the ground. Blommers & Vaal (2002a) and Gønget (2003a) describe the biology in more detail. (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, Mespilus and Prunus in Britain and Amelanchier, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus and Pyrus elsewhere. Recorded in several counties in southern Britain and widespread in continental Europe.

Neocoenorrhinus pauxillus (Germar, 1824) [Coleoptera: Rhychitidae]



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