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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Ectoedemia turbidella (Zeller, 1848)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Grey-poplar Pigmy

Nepticula turbidella Zeller, 1848. Linn. Ent. 3: 321.
Nepticula populialbae
Hering, 1935. Z. Pflkrankh. PflPath. PflSchutz. 45: 7.
Ectoedemia turbidella
(Zeller, 1848).

Galler and Leaf-miner: A gall in petiole, later mine in leaf-blade, in 'green island' (British leafminers).

The egg is placed on the petiole, about a cm below the base of the leaf; often one egg at either side. The larva first bores in the distal part of the petiole, that shows a local swelling. When the larva reaches the leaf it makes an elongate triangular blotch between the leaf margin and the first side vein, or, less frequently, between midrib and side vein. Frass in two bands, parallel to the sides of the mine, created by the passage of the larva when it retreates into the petiole. The larva mainly feeds at night. Pupation external (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Ectoedemia turbidella on Populus canescens
Mine of Ectoedemia turbidella on Populus x canescens
Image: © David Manning (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).

Whitish, no ventral plates; see Gustafsson and van Nieukerken (1990a) for a description (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 species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Populus x canescens Grey Poplar British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Populus x canescens Grey Poplar British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Populus alba White Poplar British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Populus x canescens Grey Poplar British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Middlesex, South Essex, South-west Yorkshire, West Kent and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map. Recently (November, 2010) discovered in Surrey (Rosehill Park) by Derek Coleman.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bulgaria, ? Crete, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia Central, Russia - Northwest, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Populus alba, Populus x canescens

of known host species in Britain and elsewhere:

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Adelius subfasciatus Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Cheloninae
Mirax rufilabris Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Miracinae

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 17-Apr-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page