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 leucographella (Zeller, 1850)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Firethorn Leaf Miner

Lithocolletis leucographella Zeller, 1850. Stett. ent. Zeit. 11: 207.
Phyllonorycter leucographella
(Zeller, 1850).

Leaf-miner: The mine is upper side and silvery, over the midrib. Leaf later may fold upwards, concealing the mine (British leafminers).

Oviposition is on the base of the midrib. From there an epidermal corridor is made, running towards the leaf tip. The corridor then is widened into an epidermal, silvery blotch, finally into a longitudinally contracted tentiform mine. Frass in fine, shining grains, mostly in a line over the midrib, rarely in a mass in a corner of the mine. The epidermis of the mine has a number of yellow spots, but never the black specks that are apparent in P. corylifoliella (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in UKMoths, on the Royal Horticultural Society's website and on iSpot.

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 species is included in

Comments: When population densities become high in summer also other Rosaceae may be infested, like Chaenomeles; Cotoneaster lucidus; Crataegus; Cydonia oblonga; Malus; Pyracantha coccinea; Pyrus; Sorbus torminalis. Because only Pyracantha keeps its foliage in winter, and leucographella larvae do not have a diapause, this is their normal home base (Sefrová. 1999a; Triberti, 2007a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Laburnum       British leafminers
Fagus       British leafminers
Platanus x hispanica London Plane   British leafminers Newsletter 24
Cotoneaster       Tony Marshall (pers. comm.)
Crataegus       British leafminers
Crataegus       Pitkin & Plant
Malus       British leafminers
Malus       Pitkin & Plant
Pyracantha       British leafminers
Pyracantha       Pitkin & Plant
Pyracantha       UKMoths
Pyrus communis Pear British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Sorbus aria Common Whitebeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Sorbus aria Common Whitebeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Sorbus torminalis Wild Service-tree British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Chaenomeles       Bladmineerders van Europa
Cotoneaster       Bladmineerders van Europa
Crataegus       Bladmineerders van Europa
Malus       Bladmineerders van Europa
Pyracantha coccinea Firethorn   Belgian Lepidoptera
Pyracantha coccinea Firethorn   Bladmineerders van Europa
Pyrus       Bladmineerders van Europa
Sorbus torminalis Wild Service-tree British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July, October - April. The larva in the autumn generation over winters in the mine (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Having a number of generations, the adults can be found between April and October (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Discovered in Essex in 1989, this species has spread rapidly northwards through England to parts of north York, and is now fairly common in gardens and other suburban habitats (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Dumfriesshire, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kirkudbrightshire, Leicestershire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Montgomeryshire, Monmouthshire, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Lancashire, South Lancashire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Gloucestershire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas). See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Poland, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Pyracantha coccinea, Sorbus torminalis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Apanteles corvinus Reinhard, 1880 Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Bathythrix thomsoni (Kerrich, 1942) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae

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
Find using Google
Find using Google Scholar
Find images using Google

XHTML Validator
Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page