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 humilis Zeller, 1850
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Obscure Dwarf


Elachista humilis Zeller, 1850. Stett. ent. Zeits.: 201.


Leaf-miner: Generally the mine is the full width of the leaf (as shown) and extends from the leaf tip. It is white and the frass is scattered (British leafminers). In spring a short corridor is made that is almost stuffed with frass. After hibernation this mine is vacated, and the larva then makes a number of elongated blotches, all descending from the leaf tip. These latter mines are whitish, with irregularly scattered frass (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Elachista humilis

Mine of Elachista humilis on Brachypodium sylvaticum
Image: © Tony Davis (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).

Lemon yellow, dull yellowish to greenish yellow with a lighter mid-dorsal line; head light brown. According to Hering (1957a) the prothoracic plate has a darker centre (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: Deschampsia cespitosa is the main host plant; the other host plants on the list are not all equally trustworthy because of possible confusion with Elachista canapennella (Traugott-Olsen and Nielsen, 1977a) (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Cyperaceae        
Carex       Pitkin & Plant
Carex British leafminers
Poaceae        
Agrostis       Pitkin & Plant
Agrostis British leafminers
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Festuca British leafminers
Holcus       Pitkin & Plant
Holcus British leafminers
Poa       Pitkin & Plant
Poa pratensis Smooth Meadow-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Cyperaceae        
Carex       Bladmineerders van Europa
Poaceae        
Agrostis       Bladmineerders van Europa
Anthoxanthum odoratum Sweet Vernal-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Deschampsia cespitosa Tufted Hair-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Festuca       Bladmineerders van Europa
Holcus lanatus Yorkshire-fog British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Phalaris arundinacea Reed Canary-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Poa pratensis Smooth Meadow-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: March-May (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Britain including Anglesey, Banff, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, Dumfrieshire, Dunbarton, Durham, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Linlithgow, Merionethshire, North Aberdeen, North Hampshire, North-east Yorkshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeen, South Hampshire, Stafford, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Lancaster, West Norfolk, Westmorland, Wigtownshire and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas) and the Channel Is. (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea). See also British leafminers distribution map.

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, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and North, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Anthoxanthum odoratum, Deschampsia cespitosa, Holcus lanatus, Phalaris arundinacea, Poa pratensis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chalcidoidea  
Entedon ergias Walker, 1839 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Ichneumonoidea  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor viminetorum (Wesmael, 1837) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Gelis anthracinus (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