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 sangii (Wood, 1891)
[Lepidoptera: Eriocraniidae]

Large Birch Purple

Micropteryx sangii Wood, 1891. Ent. mon. Mag. 27: 100
Eriocrania sangii
(Wood, 1891).

Leaf-miner: A blotch with large dark grey larva - discarded grey larval skin visible in vacated mine. The mine starts by the edge of the leaf (British leafminers).

Large, white, primary, full depth blotch, following upon a very short corridor. The blotch begins adjacent to the leaf margin, expanding deeper into the leaf. Frass in striking, long threads. Pupation in the soil. Vacated mines shrivel and wither away; later in summer no a trace remains (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).

Dark grey and quite distinctive if the mined leaf is held up to the light (UKMoths).

The larva is also illustrated in 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:

Betula       British leafminers
Betula       Pitkin & Plant
Betula Downy Birch     UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

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

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

Time of year - adults: The adults fly in March and April (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Although stated in the literature as local in Britain (MBGBI), renewed interest in this group in recent years has shown the species to be well distributed and quite common, especially in northern England (UKMoths) including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Dnebighshire, Dorset, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sussex, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Main Argyll, Mid-west Yorkshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Hampshire, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland, Wigtownshire and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Latvia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - North, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Host species unknown

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Cirrospilus diallus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Lathrolestes clypeatus (Zetterstedt, 1838) Ichneumonidae: Euryproctinae
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