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

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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 male and female genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group (as Eriocrania unimaculella)

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

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

Hosts elsewhere:

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 & Ireland: Well distributed and relatively common over much of Britain (UKMoths) including Banffshire (VC94), Bedfordshire (VC30), Buckinghamshire (VC24), East Suffolk (VC25), East Sussex (VC14), East Sutherland (VC107), Glamorganshire (VC41), North Aberdeenshire (VC93), North Essex (VC19), North Somerset (VC6), Shropshire (VC40), South Aberdeenshire (VC92), South Hampshire (VC11), South Lancashire (VC59), South Wiltshire (VC8), Staffordshire (VC39), Surrey (VC17), West Cornwall (VC1), West Kent (VC16) and Worcestershire (VC37) (NBN Gateway, as Eriocrania unimaculella).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea). See also Ireland's NBDC interactive map (as Eriocrania unimaculella).

NBN Grid Map:

NBN Grid Map

Heringocrania unimaculella, as Eriocrania unimaculella
NBN Grid Map : NBN Terms and Conditions

Maps are only displayed if the NBN server is active. N.B. Only publicly available records, if any, are shown by default

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 (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:

Betula pubescens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

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 Gateway, as Eriocrania unimaculella
NHM UK Checklist, as Eriocrania unimaculella

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Last updated 17-Jun-2016  Brian Pitkin Top of page