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

N.B. Links to the latest version of 'Leafminers and plant galls of Europe' are being edited

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Phyllonorycter hilarella (Zetterstedt, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Sallow Midget

Elachista hilarella Zetterstedt, 1839.
Elachista spinolella
Duponchel, 1840
Phyllonorycter hilarella
(Zetterstedt, 1839).

Leaf-miner: The leaf surface is often contorted. Can be confused with P. dubitella (British leafminers).

Rather large, lower-surface tentiform mine, mostly between two side veins. The upperside is fairly strongly inflated. The underside has many narrow folds, not easily seen because of the indumentum at the underside of the leaf. Frass pakced in a corner of the mine. Neither mine, cocoon nor pupa can be distinguished from those of Ph. dubitella (Gregor and Patocka, 2001a) (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).

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

Pupa light brown in a tough, golden cocoon (Bladmineerders van Europa). The cremaster is illustrated in British leafminers.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The male and female genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Comments: Primarily on Salix caprea. Hartig (1939a) adds Salix appendiculata (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Salix       British leafminers
Salix       UKMoths
Salix       Pitkin & Plant
Salix caprea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Salix aurita Eared Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Salix caprea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Salix cinerea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The species is bivoltine, with a flight period in late May and June and again in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: A common moth, found widespread throughout Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Ayrshire, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, East Kent, East Ross, East Suffolk, Easterness, Elgin, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, North Aberdeen, North Devon, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeen, South Hampshire, South Lancaster, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Lancaster, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Russia - Central, East, North and Northwest, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine. Also recorded in the East Palaearctic (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Salix aurita, Salix caprea, Salix cinerea

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Cirrospilus lyncus Walker, 1841 Eulophidae: Eulophinae

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 13-Aug-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page