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


Bedellia somnulentella (Zeller, 1847)
[Lepidoptera: Bedelliidae]

Bindweed Bent-wing

Lyonetia somnulentella Zeller, 1847. Isis: 894
Bedellia somnulentella
(Zeller, 1847).

Leaf-miner: At first it makes a narrow gallery lined with frass, but subsequently it makes a series of large translucent yellowish brown blotch mines from which all frass is ejected. It also constructs under the leaf an 'aerial' network of silk threads in which it moves around and rests clear of the leaf surface when not feeding (UKMoths).

The mine begins at an egg shell that almost invariably is placed on (not next to) the midrib. The egg is oval, not globular, like in the Nepticulidae. Here a narrow tortuous corridor of some 30 mm begins, with a central frass line, reminding of a Stigmella mine, that often cuts off part of the leaf, causing it to die. Then the larva leaves this mine and begins to make a series of full depth full depth mines (not necessarily on the same leaf). The larva is larger than the mine, and protrudes from it with the rear part of its body. The openings to all these mines are in the lower epidermis. Under the leaf an irregular spinning develops, in which frass grains are trapped. Pupation outside the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in 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 illustrated in British leafminers, UKMoths and Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

The pupa is attached to a leaf without a cocoon. It has a dorsal keel and a pronounced facial beak (UKMoths). The pupa is also illustrated in British leafminers and by Patocka (2000a) Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Calystegia       Pitkin & Plant
Calystegia       UKMoths
Calystegia sepium Hedge Bindweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Convolvulus       Pitkin & Plant
Convolvulus       UKMoths
Convolvulus       British leafminers
Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Ipomoea       Pitkin & Plant
Ipomoea       UKMoths
Ipomoea purpurea Common Morning-glory   British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Calystegia       Belgian Lepidoptera
Calystegia pubescens     Bladmineerders van Europa
Calystegia sepium Hedge Bindweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Convolvulus althaeoides     Bladmineerders van Europa
Convolvulus althaeoides subsp. tenuissimus     Bladmineerders van Europa
Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Convolvulus arvensis Field Bindweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Convolvulus siculus Small Blue-convolvulus   Bladmineerders van Europa
Convolvulus tricolor Tricolor Convolvulus   Bladmineerders van Europa
Ipomoea batatas Sweet-potato   Bladmineerders van Europa
Ipomoea purpurea Common Morning-glory   Belgian Lepidoptera
Ipomoea purpurea Common Morning-glory   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July, August; September (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Two generations; in August and October to May, being 'somnolent' in the winter months (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in southern Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Suffolk and Westmorland (NBN Atlas). Also Suffolk (British leafminers).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution is subject to huge fluctuations in numbers. Before 1998 it had never been recorded in Chester, but in that year the larvae were found in over 20 localities the length and breadth of the country. It was also found then in Denbigh, S. Lancashire and Derby for the first time. Since then there have been very few sightings in these counties (UKMoths).

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Azores, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canary Is., Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Madeira, Malta, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central, East and Northwest, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yuogoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Calystegia sepium, Convolvulus arvensis, Convolvulus siculus, Convolvulus tricolor, Ipomoea batatas, Ipomoea purpurea

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Diadegma elishae (Bridgman, 1884) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Diadegma exareolator Aubert, 1964 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae

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