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


NYMPHAEA. White and Fragant Water-Lilies. [Nymphaeaceae]

Two species of Nymphaea are recorded in Britain. These include the native White Water-lily (Nymphaea alba).

Three British miners are recorded on Nymphaea.

A key to the European miners recorded on Nymphaea is provided in Bladmineerders van Europa.

White Water-lily - Nymphaea alba. Image: © Brian Pitkin
White Water-lily
Nymphaea alba

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

1a > Leaf-miner: Mines visible from a distance as long, elegant corridors in the leaf upper-surface, often several in a leaf. The corridors run towwards to insertion of the the underwater petiole. From this point the larvae descend as borers into the petiole and finally pupate there. A part of the pupariria is thin-walled and emerges in August. The other pupariria are thick-walled; they hibernate in the petiole and rise the the surface next spring, after the petiole has rotted away (Hering, 1947a)

Mines of Hydromyza livens on Nuphar lutea. Image: © Willem Ellis (Source: Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mines of Hydromyza livens on Nuphar lutea
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Nuphar and possibly Nymphaea (record ambiguous) in Britain. On Nuphar and Nymphaea elsewhere. Widespread in England. Widespread in continental Europe.

Hydromyza livens (Fabricius, 1794) [Diptera: Scathophagidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: Full depth or lower-surface blotch, usually near the attachement of the petiole. Older larvae do not mine any longer but live in a flat case, made out of leaf fragments, and cause window feeding at the leaf underside. It mines the leaf for the first three days and then forms a flat case from which the larva feeds.

On Hydrocharis, Potamogeton and Sparganium, but not yet on Nymphaea, in Britain and Hydrocharis, Nuphar, Nymphaea and Potamogeton elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Elophila nymphaeata (Linnaeus, 1758) [Lepidoptera: Crambidae].

1c > Leaf-miner: When young, the larva mines mainly the leaves or the stem of Sparganium or Nuphar lutea. It hibernates. Later it lives amongst spun leaves just below the surface of the water. Pupation in a white silk cocoon attached to the foodplant at or just below the water-level (Belgian Lepidoptera). Long narrow corridor, on or alongside the midrib. The corridor may descend below the water surface, and does contain frass. After some time the larva cuts itself a case out of the mine, and continues living free, partly under water.

On Nuphar and Sparganium, but not yet on Nymphaea, in Britain and Glyceria, Nuphar, Nymphaea, Potamogeton and Sparganium elsewhere. Widespread in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Nymphula nitidulata (Hufnagel, 1767) [Lepidoptera: Crambidae].

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