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


Eriocrania cicatricella (Zetterstedt, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Eriocraniidae]

Washed Purple

Adela cicatricella Zetterstedt, 1839. Ins. Lapp.: 1008.
Eriocrania haworthi
Bradley, 1966. Ent. Gaz. 17: 214.
Tinea purpurella
Haworth, 1828. Lep. Brit.: 571
Eriocrania cicatricella
(Zetterstedt, 1839).

Leaf-miner: Blotch clouded, with some green matter left in mine. Several larvae (2-4) in one mine (British leafminers).

Large full depth blotch, adjacent to the leaf margin. The mine is not completely eaten out, which gives it a greenish or off-white appearance. Frass in threads, that seem to be somewhat shorter than in other Eriocrania's. The mine harbours 2-4 strikingly hyaline larvae. Pupation in the ground. Older mines wither and wear off; in summer no trace of them is left (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in UKMoths.

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).

Small, translucent white (British leafminers).

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).

Adults: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Betula       British leafminers
Betula       Pitkin & Plant
Betula       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Betula       Belgian Lepidoptera
Betula pubescens Downy Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The adults fly around the foodplants during April, but are not often seen (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Distributed throughout much of mainland Britain (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Cardiganshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, East Sutherland, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntongdonshire, Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Hampshire, South Wiltshire, Stafford, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (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, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - North and South, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Betula pubescens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Tersilochus curvator Horstmann, 1981 Ichneumonidae: Tersilochinae
Grypocentrus basalis Ruthe, 1855 Ichneumonidae: Tryphoniinae

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 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page