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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Caloptilia falconipennella (Hübner, 1813)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Scarce Alder Slender


Tinea falconipennella Hübner, 1813. Samml. Europ. Schmett.: fig. 317
Caloptilia falconipennella
(Hübner, 1813).


Leaf-miner: Initially in short gallery becoming a brownish blotch near the leaf margin. Later in two or three Parornix-like folds at the edge of the leaf (British leafminers).

Small (up to 10 mm long), lower-surface blotch near the leaf margin, with a brownish lower epidermis. The mine in fact is a tentiform mine, but so little silk is produced that the blotch hardly contracts at all. The mine is preceded by a quite short corridor, that is overrun by the later blotch. The older larva leaves its mine and starts feeding under a flap of the leaf margin that is folded down and fixed with silk on the blade underside. Two or three such folds are made, not necessarily on the same leaf. The fact that no leaf rolls are made, but parts of the leaf are folded down rather makes one think of the work of a Parornix (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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).

Whitish with pale brown head (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Under a turned over leaf edge (British leafminers).

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The male genitalia, but not the female genitalia (check for update), are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Betulaceae        
Alnus cordata Italian Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Alnus cordata Italian Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Alnus incana Grey Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Betulaceae        
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Britain including Hampshire (Fleet, Portsmouth and Emsworth) (British leafminers); Dorset, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Shropshire, South Hampshire, South WIitshire, Surrey, West Kent, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central, Northwest and South, Sardinia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Alnus cordata, Alnus glutinosa, Alnus incana

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea  
Diadegma stigmatellae Horstmann, 1980 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Diaglyptidea conformis (Gmelin, 1790) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Encrateola laevigata (Ratzeburg, 1848) 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
UKMoths

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Last updated 05-Aug-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page