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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Elachista albidella Nylander, 1848
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Cotton-grass Dwarf


Elachista albidella Nylander, 1848.


Leaf-miner: Corridor, 15 cm in the end, descending from the leaf tip. The mine is whitish and shallow at first, then becomes deeper, yellowish wihte, and more transparent. Pupation external; pupa, not in a cocoon, attached to the leaf (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).

Light green to grey green, with a shining greyish-black head and a grey brown thoracic plate that, according to Hering (1957a), has a dull grey mark shaped like a a horse shoe (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:

Cyperaceae        
Carex acuta Slender Tufted-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant (as Biselachista albidella)
Carex riparia Greater Pond-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant (as Biselachista albidella)
Eleocharis palustris Common Spike-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant (as Biselachista albidella)
Eriophorum angustifolium Common Cottongrass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant (as Biselachista albidella)

Hosts elsewhere:

Cyperaceae        
Carex acuta Slender Tufted-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex acutiformis Lesser Pond-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex riparia Greater Pond-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Eleocharis palustris Common Spike-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Eriophorum angustifolium Common Cottongrass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Scirpus cespitosus     Bladmineerders van Europa
Poaceae        
Calamagrostis arundinacea     Bladmineerders van Europa
Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Deschampsia flexuosa Wavy Hair-grass   Bladmineerders van Europa
Melica nutans Mountain Melick British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Poa palustris Swamp Meadow-grass   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: April-May (Bland, 1996a).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Britain including Anglesey, Brecon, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, CArdignashire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sussex, Easterness, Herefordshire, Hertforshire, Linlithgow, Merionthshire, North Aberdeen, North Ebudes, Outer Hebrides, South Aberdeen, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Stirling, West Cornwall, West Norfolk, West Ross, Westmorland and Zetland (NBN Atlas). See also British leafminers distribution map (as Biselachista albidella).

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

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Carex acuta, Carex acutiformis, Carex riparia, Deschampsia cespitosa, Deschampsia flexuosa, Eleocharis palustris, Eriophorum angustifolium, Melica nutans, Poa palustris

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, as Biselachista albidella
UKMoths

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Last updated 17-Jul-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page