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


Bucculatrix ulmella Zeller, 1848
[Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae]

Oak Bent-wing

Bucculatrix ulmella Zeller, 1848. Linn. Ent. 3: 288.

Leaf-miner: The mine is a short contorted gallery close to the midrib of a leaf, containing broken black frass (UKMoths).

Egg at the upperside of the leaf, generally adjacent to the midrib. The mine is a short, angular corridor with much black frass and a relatively large larval chamber. The larvae soon leave their mines and start causing lower-surface window feeding Bladmineerders van Europa.

The leaf-mine is also illustrated in British leafminers.

Multiple mines can occur in the same leaf. Melissa Banthorpe found 14 mines in one leaf (see Facebook Group).

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).

Head brown, pronotum grey with black punctuation (Hering, 1957a) (Bladmineerders van Europa. The larva is illustrated in UKMoths and British leafminers.

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

When pupating, in common with other Bucculatrix species, the larva creates a distinctive ribbed cocoon surrounded by a 'palisade' of vertical silken hairs (UKMoths). The pupa and cocoon are illustrated in British leafminers.

Bucculatrix ulmella cocoon
Bucculatrix ulmella cocoon
Image: Rob Edmunds (British leafminers)

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths by Rob Edmunds. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Quercus       British leafminers
Quercus       Pitkin & Plant
Quercus       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Castanea sativa Sweet Chestnut British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Quercus faginea     Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus petraea Sessile Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus pubescens Downy Oak   Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus trojana     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: A fairly common species in England, including Lancashire (Greater Manchester and Littleborough) (UKMoths) and Hampshire (Fleet and Hayling Island) (British leafminers), Wales and Scotland, though like many of its genus probably overlooked (UKMoths); Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Haddington, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Hampshire, South Northumberland, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded from Ireland (UKMoths and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, European Turkey, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia Central, East and Northwest, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Castanea sativa, Quercus petraea, Quercus pubescens, Quercus robur

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Deuterixys plugarui (Tobias, 1975) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor moldavicus (Tobias, 1975) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Diadegma crassum (Bridgman, 1889) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Diadegma pusio (Holmgren, 1860) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Gelis albipalpus (Thomson, 1884) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Gelis melanogaster (Thomson, 1884) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae

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 13-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page