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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Phyllonorycter geniculella (Ragonot, 1874)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Sycamore Midget

Lithocolletis geniculella Ragonot, 1874. Petit. nouv. ent. 5: 346.
Phyllonorycter geniculella
(Ragonot, 1874).

Leaf-miner: The mine is rounded, between veins. The lower epidermis with several small creases. The leaf may fold downwards if mine is at margin (British leafminers).

The mine begins as an inconspicuous lower surface epidermal corridor, beginning at an iridescent egg shell. This corridor is followed, and mostly replaced, by a relatively small, lower-surface, tentiform mine with many weak folds. When the mine happens to lie close to the leaf margin the leaf may fold downwards over the mine. Pupa in the mine, dark brown - black, in a loosely spun cocoon. Frass accumulated in a corner of the mine (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 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).

The pupa is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The male genitalia, but not the female genitalia (check for update), are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Comments: Buhr (1935a) additionally mentions Acer saccharinum (Bladmineerders van Europa) as a host plant.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July, October (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: The moths are on the wing in May and August, and can be found resting on the trunks of sycamore, but being so small are difficult to find (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Widespread in Britain including Ayrshire (VC74), Banffshire (VC94), Bedfordshire (VC30), Buckinghamshire (VC24), Caernarvonshire (VC49), Cambridgeshire (VC29), Cheshire (VC58), Denbighshire (VC50), Derbyshire (VC57), East Kent (VC15), East Norfolk (VC27), East Suffolk (VC25), Elgin, Flintshire (VC51), Glamorganshire (VC41), Herefordshire (VC36), Hertfordshire (VC20), Huntingdonshire (VC31), Kincardineshire (VC91), Merionethshire (VC48), Middlesex (VC21), Monmouthshire (VC35), North Aberdeenshire (VC93), North Devon (VC4), North Essex (VC19), North Hampshire (VC12), North Somerset (VC6), North Wiltshire (VC7), North-west Yorkshire (VC65), Shropshire (VC40), South Aberdeenshire (VC92), South Devon (VC3), South Essex (VC18), South Hampshire (VC11), South Lancashire (VC59), South Wiltshire (VC8), South-west Yorkshire (VC63), Staffordshire (VC39), Surrey (VC17), West Gloucestershire (VC34), West Kent (VC16), West Lancashire (VC60), West Norfolk (VC28), West Suffolk (VC26), Westmorland (VC69) and Worcestershire (VC37) (NBN Gateway).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Ireland's NBDC interactive map).

NBN Grid Map:

NBN Grid Map

Phyllonorycter geniculella
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, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia - South, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:

Acer pseudoplatanus

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides acerianus Askew, 1974 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Encrateola laevigata (Ratzeburg, 1848) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae

External links: Search the internet:
Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Gateway
NHM UK Checklist
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Last updated 24-Jul-2016  Brian Pitkin Top of page