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 sparrmannella (Bosc, 1791)
[Lepidoptera: Eriocraniidae]

Mottled Purple

Tinea sparrmannella Bosc, 1791. Trans. Linn. Soc. Lond. 1: 197, t. 17 fig. 6-7.
Eriocrania sparrmannella
(Bosc, 1791).

Leaf-miner: A linear track widens to blotch, frass in long threads (British leafminers).

Corridor, generally starting not far from the midrib, at a conspicuous, yellowish oviposition scar, suddenly and somewhat angular widening into a full depth blotch. Often the corridor is overtaken by the blotch, but it remains recognisable in the frass pattern. Frass in long threads. Pupation in the ground (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).

Larva white, gut-line green (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).

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       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

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

Time of year - larvae: June - August (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Flying from late April into May and can be netted during the day flying around the foodplant (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Locally but well distributed throughout Britain (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Corwall, East Kent, East Ross, East Suffolk, Easterness, Elgin, Elgin, Glamorgan, Haddington, Hertfordhsire, Huntingdonshire, Kirkudbrightshire, Main Argyll, Middlesex, North Aberdeenshire, North Essex, North Somerset, Northamptonshire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Kaliningrad Region, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and South, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Betula pendula, Betula pubescens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Pnigalio agraules (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Pnigalio longulus (Zetterstedt, 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