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

N.B. Links to the latest version of 'Leafminers and plant galls of Europe' are being edited

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Elachista gleichenella (Fabricius, 1781)
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Twin-barred Dwarf


Tinea gleichenella Fabricius, 1781
Elachista gleichenella
(Fabricius, 1781).


Leaf-miner: The larva starts mining near a leaf tip in early autumn. This early mine approximates to being linear but is very erratic in its course. In earl winter the the larva usually moves to anew leaf. This second mine usually takes the form of a compact but irregularly brownish blotch close to or often within the area of purplish discoloration of the dying leaf tip. Occasionally the larva does not change mines but extends the one made in autumn. Pupation takes place in a concealed place amongst debris or between closely applied leaves (Bland and Knill-Jones, 1988).

Egg generally at the underside of the leaf tip. From September till the following spring a narrow meandering corridor is made. Then gradually the corridor widens to nearly the full width of the leaf. Generally the larvae make a new mine in early winter, obviously without the initial corridor. The mine in this stage is brown and situated close to (or within) the red coloured dying apical part of the leaf. Frass in large elongate dark spots. Pupation external (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Elachista gleichenella on Carex flacca
Mine of Elachista gleichenella on Carex flacca
Image: © Jean-Yves Baugnée (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 has brownish head, black prothoracic plates and a greyish white body with a greenish tinge (Bland and Knill-Jones, 1988).

The full grown larva is greyish green, with a dark brown head and a black prothoracic plate. Characteristic details of the prothoracic plate are discussed by Steuer (1980a). The larva is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

Described by Patocka (1999a), Patocka and Turcáni (2005a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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       Emmet, 1979
Carex       Pitkin & Plant
Carex flacca Glaucous Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Juncaceae        
Luzula       Pitkin & Plant
Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Emmet, 1979

Hosts elsewhere:

Cyperaceae        
Carex curvula     Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex digitata Fingered Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex divulsa Grey Sedge   Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex echinata Star Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex flacca Glaucous Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex humilis Dwarf Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex laevigata Smooth-stalked Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex montana Soft-leaved Sedge   Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex morrowii     Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex muricata Large-fruited Prickly-sedge   Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex ornithopoda Bird's-foot Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex otrubae False Fox-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex paniculata Greater Tussock-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex pendula Pendulous Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex pilosa     Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex sempervirens     Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex sylvatica Wood-sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex umbrosa     Bladmineerders van Europa
Juncaceae        
Luzula luzuloides White Wood-rush   Bladmineerders van Europa
Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Luzula plumosa      
Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Poaceae        
Deschampsia cespitosa Hair-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: September - May the following year (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Britain including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Caernarvonshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Gloucestershire, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Shropshire, South Aberdeen, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Stirling, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancaster, West Norfolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (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, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Russia - North, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Carex digitata, Carex divulsa, Carex echinata, Carex flacca, Carex humilis, Carex laevigata, Carex montana, Carex muricata, Carex ornithopoda, Carex otrubae, Carex paniculata, Carex pendula, Carex sylvatica, Deschampsia cespitosa, Luzula luzuloides, Luzula pilosa, Luzula sylvatica

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea  
Cotesia praepotens (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor bicolor (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor viminetorum (Wesmael, 1837) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor phaetusa (Nixon, 1973) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Aclastus gracilis (Thomson, 1884) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Gelis spurius (Förster, 1850) 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 07-Aug-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page