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


Phyllonorycter heegeriella (Zeller, 1846)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Pale Oak Midget

Lithocolletis heegeriella Zeller, 1846. Linn. Ent. 1: 232, t. 1 fig. 28.
Phyllonorycter heegeriella
(Zeller, 1846).

Leaf-miner: The mine is less than 10 mm long, creases in lower epidermis small or absent (British leafminers).

Small lower-surface tentiform mine, generally equals 10 mm in length. Usually, though not always, situated near the leaf margin or in a leaf lobe. Mines of the summer generation have one fine length fold, those of the fall generation have a large number of quite fine wrinkles. Pupa in a cocoon; The summer cocoon is small, white, anchored to the floor and the ceiling of the mine, and has frass incrusted along the sides. The autumn cocoon is larger, more delicate, and completely free of frass, that may be heaped in a corner of the mine or be more or less scattered (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).

Whitish with pale brown head (Emmet, Watkinson and Wilson, 1985a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Pupa: The pupae of moths have visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).

The pupa illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa and just the cremaster in British leafminers.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Quercus       British leafminers
Quercus cerris Turkey Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Quercus petraea Sessile Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Quercus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Quercus petraea Sessile Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in England including Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sussex, East Sutherland, Easterness, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Devon, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, North Wi8ltsire, North-east Yorksire, Nottinghamshire, Pembrokeshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Hampshire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Stirlingshire, Surrey, West Gloucester, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (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, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine. Also recorded in Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Quercus cerris, Quercus petraea, Quercus robur

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides butus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides splendens (Delucchi, 1954) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis submutica Graham 1963 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae
Pholetesor bicolor (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Rhysipolis hariolator (Haliday, 1836) Braconidae: Rhysipolinae
Scambus inanis (Schrank, 1802) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

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 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page