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 apicipunctella Stainton, 1849
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Pearled Dwarf


Elachista apicipunctella Stainton, 1849. Cat. Brit. Tin. Pteroph.: 26.


Leaf-miner: Corridor widening while descending from the tip of the leaf. The mine is unusual because the sides are very irregularly scalloped out. Moreover, the mine is not evenly transparent, but rather yellowish green and motly, because the larva leaves patches of parenchyma uneaten, and does not feed full depth. Frass in a few irregular, interrupted length lines. Often 2-3 larvae in a mine. The larvae hibernate in the centre of the mine; after winter they leave their mine and pupate (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).

The larva of apicipunctella is bone coloured. Pronotum, prosternum and anal shield have chitin structures of a characteristic shape (Steuer, 1976a) (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.

Comments: Festuca gigantea is treated as Schedonorus gigantea (Giant Fescue) by Stace (2010).

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland: Various grasses (UKMoths). The male and female genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts elsewhere:

Juncaceae        
Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Steuer, 1976
Poaceae        
Agrostis       Bladmineerders van Europa
Arrhenatherum elatius False Oat-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Brachypodium sylvaticum False Brome British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Calamagrostis arundinacea     Bladmineerders van Europa
Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Dactylis polygama Slender Cock's-foot   Bladmineerders van Europa, as Dactylis glomerata subsp. aschersoniana
Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Elymus caninus Bearded Couch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Festuca altissima Wood Fescue British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Festuca gigantea Giant Fescue British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Glyceria lithuanica     Bladmineerders van Europa
Holcus mollis Creeping Soft-grass   Bladmineerders van Europa
Melica nutans Mountain Melick British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Milium effusum Wood Millet British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Poa nemoralis Wood Meadow-grass   Bladmineerders van Europa
Poa remota     Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: October until about April (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: The adult moths emerge in a single generation from late April to June in the south, and somewhat later in the north, from June to July. There may occasionally be the emergence of a second generation in the south (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Common throughout woodland clearings in Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Haddington, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, North Aberdeen, Shropshire, South Aberdeen, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Zetland (NBN Atlas).

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, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - North and Northwest, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Arrhenatherum elatius, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Calamagrostis arundinacea, Dactylis glomerata, Dactylis polygama, Deschampsia cespitosa, Elymus caninus, Festuca altissima, Festuca gigantea (= Schedonorus gigantea), Holcus mollis, Luzula pilosa, Melica nutans, Milium effusum, Poa nemoralis, Poa remota

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea  
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor viminetorum (Wesmael, 1837) Braconidae: Microgastrinae


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 18-Jul-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page