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


Heringocrania unimaculella (Zetterstedt, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Eriocraniidae]

White-spot Purple

Adela unimaculella Zetterstedt, 1839. Ins. Lapp.: 1008.
Heringocrania unimaculella
(Zetterstedt, 1839)
Eriocrania unimaculella (Zetterstedt, 1839).

Leaf-miner: The mine starts at or near the leaf edge and widens to a blotch with frass in long threads (British leafminers).

Large, white, full depth blotch along the leaf margin. Frass in long threads. Old mines wither and disintegrate, and cannot be found any more later in the summer (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).

The final instar larva has a dark brown head (British leafminers, as Eriocrania unimaculella), the base of which shows as two dark spots (UKMoths, as Eriocrania unimaculella.

Pronotum with a pair of large black papillae. Head light brown. Abdomen segment 2 laterally with a pair of tubercles (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 (as Eriocrania unimaculella). The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Betula       British leafminers (as Eriocrania unimaculella)
Betula       UKMoths (as Eriocrania unimaculella)

Hosts elsewhere:

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

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

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

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Well distributed and relatively common over much of Britain (UKMoths) including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Cumberland, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Glamorgan, Haddington, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Main Argyll, Middlesex, North Aberdeenshire, North Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland, Wigtownshire and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas, as Eriocrania unimaculella).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - 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  
Colastes incertus (Wesmael, 1838) Braconidae: Exothecinae

External links: Search the internet:

Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers, as Eriocrania unimaculella
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas, as Eriocrania unimaculella
NHM UK Checklist, as Eriocrania unimaculella

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Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page