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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Donacaula forficella (Thunberg, 1794)
[Lepidoptera: Crambidae]

Pale Water-veneer


Tinea forficella Thunberg, 1794. Ins. Succisa.: 85, pl. (opp. 98) fig. 4.
Schoenobius forficella
(Thunberg, 1794)
Donacaula forficella
(Thunberg, 1794).


Leaf-miner: Common reed and similar plants are the larval foodplant. The larva of this species has a peculiar habit of cutting part of a leaf to act as a raft, using this to float on the water to a new foodplant when necessary (UKMoths).

Narrow, whitish, rather inflated corridor, sometimes several tens of centimeters long, running towards the leaf sheath. Frass in coarse grains, in a distinct central line. Now and then the larva makes a elongate case from leaf material and uses it to float to another hostplant. The case may stick for some time to the new host. The larva pupates in a stem, after having made an exit hole and closed it with silk (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).

Greyish green; head black, prothoracic shield black, divided. Thoracic feet with an antero-mesal globular structure (Neunzig, 1987a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The male and female genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Poaceae        
Phragmites australis Common Reed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Cyperaceae        
Carex       Belgian Lepidoptera
Carex       Hering, 1957
Carex       Bladmineerders van Europa
Poaceae        
Glyceria fluitans Floating Sweet-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Glyceria maxima Reed Sweet-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Glyceria maxima Reed Sweet-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Phragmites       Belgian Lepidoptera
Phragmites australis Common Reed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: June; larva overwinters (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: June and July and usually encountered at light (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Southern half of Britain, inhabiting marshy areas, ditches and similar habitats (UKMoths). Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Gloucestershire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sussex, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Middlesex, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, South Essex, South Hampshire, South South Lancaster, South Somerset, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, West Sussex and Westmorland (NBN Atlas) and Channel Is. (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea). See also Ireland's NBDC interactive map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and South, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Glyceria fluitans, Glyceria maxima, Phragmites australis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.



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 12-Jul-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page