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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PRUNUS. Blackthorn and Cherries. [Rosaceae]


Eighteen species of Prunus are recorded in Britain. These include the native Blackthorn (P. spinosa), Bird Cherry (P. padus) and Wild Cherry (P. avium) and the introduced Cherry Plum (P. cerasifera). The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for Prunus.

Forty-three miners are recorded on Prunus.

Blackthorn - Prunus spinosa. Image: © Brian Pitkin
Blackthorn
Prunus spinosa


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


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)

2

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 first case is cut out of an oval mine in the centre of the leaf. The second and third, final, case are excised out of a mine along the leaf margin, and therefore have a serrate dorsal keel. The final case is a spatulate leaf case, 6-7 mm long, with a bivalved, square-cut rear end. The mouth angle is c. 45° (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Prunus in Britain and Crataegus and Prunus elsewhere. Isle of Wight and South Devon. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora adjectella Hering, 1937 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2b > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The early case is tiny and the larva makes a series of tiny holes on the leaf. After overwintering it makes a shiny pistol shaped case in spring and window feeds (British leafminers). The young larva, before hibernation, makes tiny mines, sometimes tens in one leaf. After hibernation window feeding is done. In this latter stage the larva lives in a shining black pistol case of about 7 mm, that, with a mouth angle of 70°-80°, stands almost perpendicular on the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus in Britain plus numerous genera and species of several plant families elsewhere. Occurs in England and Wales, commoner in the south. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora anatipenella (Hübner, 1796) [Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae].

2c > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The larva initially makes a blotch mine in the leaf, which it then excises to form its case. The larva overwinters in its case before resuming feeding in spring. A new case, 6-7 mm long, is then constructed from a further blotch mine (UKMoths). The second case is indistinguishable from C. spinella and C.prunifoliae (British leafminers). The final case is a tubular leaf case, 6-7 mm long, light brown at first, darker later. The rear end is trivalved, the mouth opening is around 45°. The larvae live at the underside of the leaves, and make sizable full depth mines.Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, Malus and Prunus in Britain and Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Malus, Prunus and Sorbus elsewhere. Scattered colonies throughout the UK. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora coracipennella (Hübner, 1796) [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2d > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The full grown larva lives in a dull black pistol case of c 9 mm that, with a mouth angle of 80-90° stands erect on the leaf. Characteristic is the presence of some ear-like flaps. At least after the hibernation the larvae do not mine any more, but rather cause skeleton feeding (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Case of Coleophora currucipennella on Quercus rubra
Case of Coleophora currucipennella on Quercus rubra
Image: © Paul van Wielink (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Carpinus, Corylus, Quercus and Salix, but not yet on Prunus, in Britain and Betula, Carpinus, Corylus, Fagus, Quercus, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus, Sorbus and Salix elsewhere. Widespread though not common in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora currucipennella Zeller, 1839 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2e > 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 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].

2f > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The case resembles that of C. violacea, but does not lie so flat again the leaf as this species (having a mouth angle of 30 to 50°). C. violacea also has a case which bulges in the middle, whereas in C. potentillae the case tapers towards the posterior (British leafminers). Immediately after emergence the larva makes a full depth, quickly widening, corridor, with frass as small grains in a broad central band. Finally results a blotch of 2 x 5 mm, from which the youth case is cut. The fully developed case is a hairy, greyish brown to silver grey lobe case of about 1 cm long, with a clearly laterally compressed end; the mouth angle is about 90°. The case is difficult to separate from that of C. ochripennella (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Betula, Agrimonia, Crataegus, Filipendula ulmaria, Fragaria vesca, Geum, Helianthemum nummularium, Potentilla, Prunus spinosa, Rosa, Rubus caesius, Rosa fruticosus and Salix cinerea in Britain plus Malus sylvestris, Ribes, Sanguisorba and Spiraea elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and in continental Europe.

Coleophora potentillae Elisha, 1885 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2g > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Tubular leaf case, 6-7 mm long, light, later dark brown, trivalved, with a mouth angle of 45°. The larva lives at the underside of the leaf, and makes sizable full depth mines there (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Malus and Prunus in Britain and Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus, Pyracantha and Sorbus elsewhere. Southern England. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora prunifoliae Doets, 1944 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2h > 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 Prunus, 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].

2i > 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 in Britain plus Mespilus elsewhere. Widespread in England and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

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

2i > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Tubular silken case of only 5-6 mm. The case is weakly constricted near the anal end, and strongly just behind the mouth. The case is sharply bent there; therefore the mouth angle is 0° and the case lies adpressed to the leaf. The fully developed case normally is trivalved. Larvae at the underside of the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Crataegus, Malus, Prunus and Sorbus in Britain plus Cotoneaster elsewhere. Widespread in England and continental Europe.

Coleophora trigeminella Fuchs, 1881 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2j > 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, including Prunus, in Britain and 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 Prunus, 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: Upper-surface blotch. The inner wall is lined with much silk, giving the mine a white colour. The silk also causes the mine to contract, pulling the leaf margins upwards; the mine can be almost completely hidden from view in this way. All frass is ejected from the mine. Pupation within the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Distribution in Britain unknown. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coptotriche gaunacella (Duponchel, 1843) [Lepidoptera: Tischeriidae].

3c > 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 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].

3d > Leaf-miner: Makes an irregular blotch mine. The initial frass-filled gallery is very contorted (as shown. This distinguishes it from the mines of S.plagicolella, which have the initial gallery long and sinuous, with linear frass). It then makes an irregular gallery with clear margins and linear frass. Finally there is a small clear blotch, with the frass in a heap at the mouth of the gallery. The larva feeds with its ventral surface uppermost (British leafminers).

Egg at the underside of the leaf, usually near the midrib, sometimes a side vein or the leaf margin. The first part of the mine is a narrow gallery, almost completely filled with reddish frass; the corridor is strongly contorted, almost forming a secondary blotch. The continuation is somewhat less contorted, and here the frass leaves clear margins. Finally the corridor widens into a rather small elongate blotch, where much of the copious frass is compacted in the basal section. The mine is compressed in a limited space, and the final blotch often obliterates earlier parts of the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Ectoedemia spinosella on Prunus spinosa Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mine of Ectoedemia spinosella on Prunus spinosa
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Britain including North Essex, South Essex, Surrey and West Lancaster. Widespread in continental Europe.

Ectoedemia spinosella (Joannis, 1908) [Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae].

3e > Leaf-miner: Oviposition by way of an ovipositor, no egg visible therefore. The larva makes an irregular blotch. The part of the mine nearest to the oviposition site is more thranslucent than the later, in transparancy more greenish, part of the mine. The mine usually lies close to the leaf tip, often several together. After its first moult the larva makes a roundish excision, 3-4 mm in diameter. Incurvaria larvae, while resting, take a horse-shoe like posture, unlike the larvae of Antispila species. Sandwiched herein it drops to the ground and continues feeding of dead leaves. The excision occupies about half of the surface of the blotch (Bladmineerders van Europa). The mine is also described in (UKMoths).

On Vaccinium myrtillus, Prunus and Rubus chamaemorus in Britain. On several genera and species of several plant families, including Prunus, elsewhere. Widespread in much of the British Isles and continental Europe.

Incurvaria oehlmanniella (Hübner, 1796) [Lepidoptera: Incurvariidae].

3f > Leaf-miner: The larva starts making a corridor of a few mm, followed, and mostly overrun, by a circular blotch of 4-5 mm diameter (Bladmineerders van Europa). Generally several larvae feed in a single leaf, creating a distinctive pattern of feeding windows. The larvae then cut out circular cases and drop to the leaf-litter to continue feeding, leaving behind a leaf containing many circular or oval cut-outs (UKMoths).

On Alnus, Betula, Carpinus, Corylus, Malus and Tilia, but not yet on Prunus, in Britain and Acer, Alnus, Betula, Carpinus, Corylus, Ostrya, Cornus, Robinia, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widely distributed in Britain and continental Europe.

Incurvaria pectinea Haworth 1828 [Lepidoptera: Incurvariidae].

3g > 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 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].

3h > 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 Prunus, in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

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

3i > 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 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].

3j > Leaf-miner: The short full depth corridor mine is made in the leaf in September and the larva then hibernates on the axil of the leaf, making a web and feeding the next spring (British leafminers). In the spring they feed on the leaves from within a silk web (UKMoths). The larvae make a small full depth corridor in autumn. They pass the winter in a hiberaculum outside the mine, later they live free in a spinning (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation on a twig in a cocoon (British leafminers).

Mines of Paraswammerdamia albicapitella on Prunus spinosa
Mines of Paraswammerdamia albicapitella on Prunus spinosa
Image: © David Manning (British leafminers)

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in British Isles and continental Europe.

Paraswammerdamia albicapitella (Scharfenberg, 1805) [Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae].

3k > Leaf-miner: Initially a lower epidermal gallery leading to a grey or whitish blotch which contorts the leaf strongly. Then at least two folds on the leaf margin, consuming the upper epidermis (British leafminers). The mine starts as a lower-surface epidermal corridor, that becomes widened into a blotch. The end result is a small, strongly inflated, tentiform mine between two side veins. The leaf tissue is eaten away up to the upper epidermis. The lower epidermis is opaque, mottled greyish, and strongly folded. Finally the mine is vacated and the larva continues under a leaf tip of margin that has been folded downwards; at least two of such folds are made and eaten out from the inside (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation in a cocoon in folded leaf-margin (British leafminers).

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Southern half of England and Wales, ranging northwards to York. Widespread in continental Europe.

Parornix finitimella (Zeller, 1850) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3l > Leaf-miner: The initial mine is a blotch type. It then leaves this and makes folds on the leaf edge. The mine looks similar to Parornix finitimella and the larvae should be examined for identification of the mine. D. torquilella has legs concolorous with the body, whereas P. finitimella has black ringed legs (British leafminers, as Deltaornix torquillella). The mine begins as a lower-surface epidermal gallery that widens into a blotch. Finally it becomes a small, only weakly inflated tentiform mine, quadrangular of triangular when it lies in a vein axil. The lower epidermis is whitish, unfolded, and rather transparent. The leaf tissue is eaten up to the upper epidermis. Frass packed in a corner of the mine. The older larva leaves the mine, then lives free under a leaf tip or margin that has been folded downwards, or in a leaf that is rolled into a pod (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation in a cocoon under the folded edge of leaf (British leafminers, as Deltaornix torquillella).

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in British Isles and continental Europe.

Parornix torquillella (Zeller, 1850) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3m > Leaf-miner: A large mine, 15-20 mm long, more than six creases, in the lower epidermis (British leafminers). Relatively large, lower-surface tentiform mine; epidermis rather strongly folded. Pupa in the mine, in a white cocoon (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Betula and Prunus in Britain and Betula elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and elsewhere.

Phyllonorycter cavella (Zeller, 1846) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3n > Leaf-miner: The mine is underside, between veins, often causing leaf to arch. Several mines may be found in one leaf (British leafminers). Lower-surface tentiform mine, usually between two side veins, without clear folds (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in southern England, Wales and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter cerasicolella (Zeller, 1846) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3m > Leaf-miner: The mine is an underside, strongly creased blister, causing a distinct pucker in the upperside of the leaf (UKMoths). Elongated, lower surface, tentiform mine with one strong fold in the lower epidermis. Pupa in a white cocoon, in which no frass in incorporated; all frass in a clump in the mine. Before ecdysis the pupa works itself out of the mine through the floor in the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa). Difficult to distinguish between P. cydoniella and P. blancardella on the basis of mine characteristics - both form arched tubes on the leaf of M. sylvestris. P. cydoniella tends to make the larger mine on M. sylvestris and the pupa is in a cocoon, with frass to one side (British leafminers).

On Cydonia, Malus and Sorbus, but not yet on Prunus, in Britain and Cydonia, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. A local species, distributed mainly in the southern and south-eastern area of England. Also recorded in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter hostis Triberti, 2007 [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3o > 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 Prunus, in Britain and Betula, Fagus, Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyrus, Sorbus and Spiraea elsewhere.

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

3p > Leaf-miner: Lower-surfce, 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 Prunus, 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].

3q > Leaf-miner: The mine is oval on Q. ilex (note - there may be several mines in the leaf), and similar to P. quercifoliella on deciduous oaks. It is between adjacent veins on beech and hornbeam (British leafminers). Small, oval, lower-surface tentiform mine, 9-14 mm long, mostly between two lateral veins. The lower epidermis with a single sharp fold (sometimes forked near its end). Pupa in very flimsy cocoon, that contains a bit of frass laterally and at the rear end (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Betula, Carpinus, Castanea, Fagus, Nothofagus, Quercus, Malus, Ostrya and Prunus in Britain and Carpinus, Castanea, Fagus, Quercus, Prunus and Tilia elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter messaniella (Zeller, 1846) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3r > Leaf-miner: A large mine with a strong crease in lower epidermis. Leaf-edge often folded downwards (British leafminers). Lower-surface, yellow-green tentiform mine with a few sharp folds in the epidermis. In Rowan the mine is parallel to the leaf margin, in Cherry usually between two lateral veins. The light brown cocoon lies in a wide cocoon, in which no frass is incorporated; all frass is accumulated in a clump in an angle of the mine. Before hatching the pupa penetrates the mine wall; generally the exuvium remains stuck halfway out of the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Phyllonorycter sorbi pupa,  cremaster,  dorsal
Phyllonorycter sorbi pupa, cremaster, dorsal
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Chaenomeles, Prunus and Sorbus in Britain and Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus, Pyrus and Sorbus. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter sorbi (Frey, 1885) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3s > Leaf-miner: A mine with several creases in lower epidermis, causing the leaf to arch or fold over (British leafminers). The larvae feed on blackthorn or sometimes wild plum. On blackthorn the mines are narrow and cause the leaf to pucker strongly, often folding right over, and being whitish, resemble those of the blackthorn-feeding Parornix species (UKMoths). Lower-surface, strongly inflated tentifom mine bewtwwn to side veins. Lower epidermis with folds, green. Pupa in a white cocoon, frass in a mass in a corner of the mine. Before emergence the pupa works itself halfway out of the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter spinicolella (Zeller, 1846) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3t > Leaf-miner: The small larvae leaf-mining at first, and later living externaly in a silken web (UKMoths). The young larva makes a full depth blotch. Most frass is ejected by a slit in the epidermis. Later the larva life free in a web, often communally (Agassiz, 1996a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Pseudoswammerdamia combinella on Prunus spinosa
Mine of Pseudoswammerdamia combinella on Prunus spinosa
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Distributed sparsely throughout most of Britain. Also recorded from the Channel Is. and Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Pseudoswammerdamia combinella (Hübner, 1786) [Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae].

3u > 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 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].

3v > Leaf-mine: The young larvae make very small (≤ 3 mm) corridor or blotch mines, usually several in a leaf. The primary mine generally lies adjacent to the midrib; as far as I have seen the egg always is upper-surface. The secondary mines often are found in leaves without primary mine: obviously the larvae easily move to another leaf. The secondary mines are made from the underside of the leaf; while moving around silk is deposited under the leaf. Most frass is ejected from the mines, and part of the frass grains remain stuck in the spinning. Rather soon the larvae start living completely free in a common spinning under a leaf. They hibernate in a hibernaculum and continue living free in the spring (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Scythropia crataegella
Mines of Scythropia crataegella on Crataegus
Image: Ben Smart

On Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Malus and Prunus in Britain and on Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Malus, Prunus and Pyrus elsewhere. Fairly common in the southern half of Britain, but not occurring northwards of Yorkshire. Widespread in continental Europe.

Scythropia crataegella (Linnaeus, 1767) [Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae]

3w > Leaf-miner: Usually a very small, 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

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 oxycanthae (Marsham, 1802) [Coleoptera: Curculionidae].

3x > Leaf-miner: The gallery is sinuous, widening later, with linear frass (British leafminers). Egg at the underside of the leaf, near a vein. The mine is quite variable. It is a rather strongly tortuous corriodor, sometime widening only a little, sometimes strongly, at times ending in a secondary blotch. Frass black or brown, in a narrow central line (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

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

3y > Leaf-miner: Egg at the underside of the leaf. The mine is a not very strongly contorted corridor, also not limited to a small portion of the leaf, and usually not forming a secondary blotch. Frass black. The frass line is very narrow, especially in the first section of the mine. In the second part the line may be broader, with the frass dispersed or indistinctly coiled, but always the width of the frass remains less than a third of the width of the corridor (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Stigmella minusculella on Pyrus communis Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mine of Stigmella minusculella on Pyrus communis
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Pyrus, but not yet on Prunus, in Britain and ? Prunus and Pyrus elsewhere. Distibution in Britain uknown. Widespread in continental Europe.

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

3z > 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 Prunus, 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].

3za > Leaf-miner: A narrow gallery, leading abruptly to a blotch (British leafminers). Egg at the leaf underside. The first part of the mine consists of a slender undulating corridor with a proportionally wide uninterrupted frass line, that leaves a clear transparent zone at either side. After a moult this corridor widens aburptly into a bloth, that develops into the oppsite direction. The frass is concentrated here ia a diffuse central spot. The mine hardly ever crosses the midrib. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Prunus in Britain and Malus and Prunus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

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

3zb > Leaf-miner: A contorted gallery filled with green frass (British leafminers). Egg at the underside of the leaf, often close to a vein. The mine is a corridor, running in several half or whole circles around the oviposition site. Only the last segment breaks loose, and often runs along the leaf margin. The frass is greenish, lying in coils that are so wide as to almost completely fill the corridor (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Prunus in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in southern England, Wales and continental Europe.

Stigmella prunetorum (Stainton, 1855) [Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae].

3zc > Leaf-miner: Full depth blotch, invariably beginning at the leaf tip or the tip of a leaf lobe or tooth. Oviposition site covered by a black, shining drop of hardened secretion. Frass generally in long threads, but sometimes in elongated granules. Pupation in the mine, not in a cocoon (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Corylus avellana, but not yet on Prunus, in Britain. On several genera and species in several plant families including Prunus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Trachys minutus (Linnaeus, 1758) [Coleoptera: Buprestidae].

3zd > Leaf-mine: The eggs, laid on the spines (usually) or the stem, may hatch in about three weeks or overwinter. In Spring they mine the leaves or feed in buds. They then feed gregariously in a web, which extends as they consume the food source and, in severe infestations, the whole tree may be affected (British leafminers).

On Crataegus spp., Prunus spinosa and Prunus spp. in Britain. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Channel Is. and Republic of Ireland.

Yponomeuta padella (Linnaeus, 1758) [Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae].

3ze > 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: Rhynchitidae]



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