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


Alucita hexadactyla Linnaeus, 1758
[Lepidoptera: Alucitidae]

Twenty-plume Moth

Alucita hexadactyla Linnaeus, 1758. Syst. Nat. (ed. 10): 542, no. 305
Alucita polydactyla Hübner, 1813. Samml. Europ. Schmett. 9 (in 8): fig. 28
Alucita poecilodactyla Stephens, 1835. Ill. Brit. Ins. 4: 379
Alucita cartereaui Jourdheuille, 1883. Mem. Soc. acad. Aube 47: 220. [Synonymised by Scholz and Jakh, 1994. Alexanor 18 (4): 15].

Leaf-miner: Full depth, somewhat inflated and puckered mine with scattered frass. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The larva lives in the flower-buds and mines in the leaves (UKMoths and Belgian Lepidoptera).

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 illustrated in UKMoths and illustrated in Encyclopedia of Life.

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

The larva pupates in a tough cocoon on or under the surface of the ground ( Belgian Lepidoptera). The pupa is illustrated in UKMoths.

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Lonicera       Pitkin & Plant
Lonicera       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Lonicera       Bladmineerders van Europa
Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Lonicera periclymenum Honeysuckle British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera

Time of year - larvae: Currently unknown.

Time of year - adults: Almost any time of year (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Fairly common throughout Britain including Lancashire (Greater Manchester, Chorlton) (UKMoths); Anglesey, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, East Sussex, East Sutherland, Easterness, Elgin, Fife, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Merionethshire, Mid Perthshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Devon, North Ebudes, North Essex, North Northumberland, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, North-west Yorkshire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, West Sussex, West Sutherland, Westmorland, Wigtownshire, Worcestershire and Shetland (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Fauna Europaea and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Corsica, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Sardinia, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden and Switzerland (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Lonicera periclymenum

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Bracon pectoralis (Wesmael, 1838) Braconidae: Braconinae
Chelonus retusus (Nees, 1816) Braconidae: Cheloninae
Hyposoter vividus (Holmgren, 1860) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Scambus inanis (Schrank, 1802) 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