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


Heliozela hammoniella Sorhagen, 1885
[Lepidoptera: Heliozelidae]

Birch Lift

Heliozela hammoniella Sorhagen, 1885. Ent. Nachr. 11: 338, fig. 1
Tinagma betulae
Stainton, 1890.

Leaf-miner: The mine in the petiole and midrib leads to an oval blotch, then a cut-out in leaf-blade (British leafminers).

The larva begins its life as a borer in the pith of a twig. Only when it is almost full grown it enters a petiole, then the midrib, of a leaf. The leaf becomes starved that way, and turns somehwat pale. From the midrib a short full depth corridor runs into the blade, generally in the basal part of the leaf. The corridor usually is quite short but when it happens to be longer a central frass line is visible. Finally an oval excision of about 3 x 5 mm is cut out, in which the larva drops to 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).

Described by Patočka and Turčáni (2005a) (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 by Jon Baker. 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: July - August (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: The moths fly in May and June (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Distributed in England and Wales north to Cumbria, this tiny leaf-mining species is locally common (UKMoths) including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sussex, Glamorgan, Haddington, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Kirkudbrightshire, Linlithgow, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Montgomeryshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Devon, North Ebudes, North Essex, North Northumberland, Nottinghamshire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Stirlingshire, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Perthshire, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Wigtownshire (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, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and North, Sweden and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Betula pubescens

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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