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 subocellea (Stephens, 1834)
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Brown-barred Dwarf

Aphelosetia subocellea Stephens, 1834. Ill. Brit. Ent. 4: 290.
Elachista subocellea
(Stephens, 1834).

Leaf-miner: The larva feeds internally on a leaf of False Brome, forming a blister-like mine (UKMoths).

At first a narrow ascending corridor. The direction reverses and the mine develops into a broad, greenish, inconspicuous blotch, reminiscent of a tentiform mine, 5-8 cm long. Pupation external (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).

Dull green, head and prothoracic shield light brown. Prothoracic shield divided in two narrow elongate, distally enlarged, slerites (Traugott-Olsen and Nielsen, 1977a; Bland, 1996a) (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 species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Brachypodium sylvaticum False Brome British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Brachypodium sylvaticum False Brome British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Brachypodium pinnatum Heath False-brome   Bladmineerders van Europa
Brachypodium sylvaticum False Brome British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Brachypodium sylvaticum False Brome British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: End of April to beginning of June (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: The moths fly in June and July, and are found in woods and woodland clearings rather than the typical grassland habitat of many Elachistidae (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Scattered distribution covering much of the British Isles (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Ross, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Montgomeryshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, Stafford, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas) and Ireland (Fauna Europaea). Generally commonest in the southern part of England (UKMoths).

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Brachypodium pinnatum, Brachypodium sylvaticum

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

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Last updated 18-Oct-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page