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


Nymphula nitidulata (Hufnagel, 1767)
[Lepidoptera: Crambidae]

Beautiful China-mark

Phalaena nitidulata Hufnagel, 1767. Berl. Mag. 4 (6): 618.
Phalaena stagnata
Donovan, 1806. Brit. Ins. 11: 10, pl. 363 fig. 2
Nymphula nitidulata (Hufnagel, 1767).

Leaf-miner: When young, the larva mines mainly the leaves or the stem of Sparganium or Nuphar lutea. It hibernates. Later it lives amongst spun leaves just below the surface of the water. Pupation in a white silk cocoon attached to the foodplant at or just below the water-level (Belgian Lepidoptera).

Long narrow corridor, on or alongside the midrib. The corridor may descend below the water surface, and does contain frass. After some time the larva cuts itself a case out of the mine, and continues living free, partly under water (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).

Yellowish, with a brown dorsal line and a brown head (Hering, 1957a) (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:

Nuphar lutea Yellow Water-lily British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Sparganium       Pitkin & Plant
Sparganium       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Nuphar lutea Yellow Water-lily British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Nuphar lutea Yellow Water-lily British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Nymphaea alba White Water-lily British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Glyceria       Bladmineerders van Europa
Potamogeton       Bladmineerders van Europa
Sparganium       Belgian Lepidoptera
Sparganium       Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: From August up to May the next year (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: On the wing during July and August. It flies in the evening and at night, and comes readily to light (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Found fairly commonly around lakes, rivers and ponds throughout Britain (UKMoths) including, Anglesey, Ayrshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Caithness, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Easterness, Fife, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Ebudes, North Essex, North Somerset, North Northumberland, North Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Pembrokeshire, Renfrewshire, Shropshire, South Devon, South Essex, South Lancashire, South Wiltshire, South Northumberland, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Perthshire, West Suffolk, West Sussex, Westmorland, Wigtownshire and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas) and the Channel Is. (Fauna Europaea).

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Gibraltar, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and North, Sicily, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Nuphar lutea, Nymphaea alba

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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Last updated 27-Jun-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page