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


Acrolepiopsis assectella (Zeller, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Acrolepiidae]

Leek moth

Roeslerstammia assectella Zeller, 1839. Isis: 203.
Lita vigiliella
Duponchel, 1842. Hist. Nat. Lep. Suppl. 4: t. 73, fig. 12
Acrolepiopsis assectella
(Zeller, 1839).

Leaf-miner / stem-borer: Very variable mine - corridor or blotch, with or without frass (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The larvae mine the leaves at first. In leeks it then bores through them and later enters the middle to feed on the inner leaves. In onion it feeds inside the leaves and can enter the bulb to feed (British leafminers).

Larva: The larvae of moths have a head capsule and chewing mouthparts with opposable mandibles (see video of a gracillarid larva feeding), six thoracic legs and abdominal legs (see examples).

The larva is described by Heppner (1987) and illustrated in British leafminers.

Pupa: The pupae of moths have visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).

The larva pupates in an open network cocoon, either on the foodplant or close by (UKMoths and British leafminers).

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths and the Encyclopedia of Life. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Allium       British leafminers
Allium       UKMoths
Allium ascalonicum Shallot   British leafminers
Allium cepa Onion   British leafminers
Allium cepa Onion   Pitkin & Plant
Allium porrum Leek British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Allium porrum Leek British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Allium sativum Garlick   British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Allium       Belgian Lepidoptera
Allium cepa Onion   Bladmineerders van Europa
Allium fistulosum     Bladmineerders van Europa
Allium montanum     Bladmineerders van Europa
Allium porrum Leek British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: May - June; August - October (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Two generations - June and July, and from October through the winter to early spring (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Although it has the potential to be a pest, it is rather scarce and local. It is distributed mainly in the south-east of England, especially around the coast (UKMoths) including Dorset, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sussex, Glamorgan, Kirkudbrightshire, Leicestershire, North Somerset, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas). Also Cheltenham, East Gloucestershire (British leafminers).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Balearic Is., Belarus, Belgium, Corsica, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Kaliningrad Region, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central, North and Northwest, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Allium cepa, Allium fistulosum, Allium porrum, Allium sativum

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Dalman, 1820) Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae
Trichogramma evanescens Westwood, 1833 Trichogrammatidae: Trichogrammatinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Diadromus varicolor Wesmael, 1845 Ichneumonidae: Ichneumoninae
Zaglyptus varipes (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

External links: Search the internet:

Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
NHM UK Checklist

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Last updated 10-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page