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


Elachista poae Stainton, 1855
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Sweet-grass Dwarf]

Elachista poae Stainton, 1855. Entomol. Ann.: 47.

Leaf-miner: Narrow, whitish (in the end often reddish brown) gallery of several decimeters in length, descending from the leaf tip to within the sheath of the leaf. Frass dispersed. Pupation external (Bladmineerders van Europa). The mine is downwards, towards the stem, and difficult to see. It is initially a pale green and later turns brown. When the larvae reach the water-line, they may then mine upwards or swap leaves (and then mine upwards). The frass is scattered in the mine (which distinguishes it from S.forficella, which has frass in a central strip). Found in the borders of steams, ponds etc. (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).

The larva is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Larva of Elaschista poae

Larva of Elachista poae
Image: © Charlie Strrets (British leafminers)

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

The pupa is in a slight cocoon, on an unmined leaf, about 60cms above the weater line. See Bland (1996a), Patocka (1999a), Patocka and Turcáni (2005a) (Bladmineerders van Europa). The pupa is illustrated in the Encyclopedia of Life.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The adult is illustrated in the Encyclopedia of Life. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Glyceria maxima Reed Sweet-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Glyceria maxima Reed Sweet-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Glyceria maxima Reed Sweet-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: April-May and July-August (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, East Dorset, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Shropshire, South Somerset, Stafford, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas). See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Fauna Europaea and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Glyceria maxima

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Spaniopus dissimilis Walker, 1833 Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Chelonus pusio Marshall, 1885 Braconidae: Cheloninae
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor phaetusa (Nixon, 1973) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor viminetorum (Wesmael, 1837) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Gelis agilis (Fabricius, 1775) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Dilleritomus filiformis (Strobl, 1901) Ichneumonidae: Ichneumoninae

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 18-Oct-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page