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 platani (Staudinger, 1870)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

London Midget

Lithocolletis platani Staudinger, 1870. Horae Soc. ent. Ross. 7: 277, t. 3 fig. 18.
Phyllonorycter platani
(Staudinger, 1870).

Leaf-miner: Large mines, often several larvae in one leaf. Generally underside between veins. The upper side becomes mottled. On upper side can be over veins (British leafminers).

The mine begins as an epidermal corridor, sometimes several cm in length. This widens into a shallow, greyish green, irregularly lobed blotch. The fully developed mine is an orange brown tentiform mine with a number of length folds. Almost all mines are lower-surface. The upperside of the mine then is a mottled oval, because the larva here and threre has eaten holes in the roof of the mine, i.e., the palissade parenchhyma (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in UKMoths.

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 colourless and transparant. Note also the two types of frass: small, light brown granules scattered throughout the mine, and larger blackish brown grains in an elongate clump. The light spots (see below) are windows the larva has eaten in the palissade parenchyma, the roof of the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

hyllonorycter platani larva,  dorsal
Phyllonorycter platani larva, dorsal
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

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

Pupation inside a white cocoon (British leafminers). The pupa is also illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Platanus orientalis Oriental Plane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Platanus x hispanica London Plane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Platanus x hispanica London Plane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Platanus x hispanica London Plane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Platanus occidentalis     Belgian Lepidoptera
Platanus occidentalis     Belgian Lepidoptera
Platanus orientalis Oriental Plane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Platanus occidentalis     Belgian Lepidoptera
Platanus occidentalis     Bladmineerders van Europa
Platanus x hispanica London Plane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa, as Platanus acerifolia

Time of year - larvae: July - November (British leafminers). The mines formed in October and November are large and very distinctive, with several mines often appearing on one leaf (UKMoths).

Time of year - adults: The moths fly in late April to May and in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Since its discovery in London in 1989, this species has slowly spread through the southern counties of the UK and into the West Country and Midlands (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, Middlesex, North Somerset, Shropshire, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Corsica, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Dodecanese Is., French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Liechtenstein, Macedonia, Madeira, North Aegean Is., Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. Also recorded in Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Platanus orientalis, Platanus x hispanica

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis nitetis (Walker, 1939) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis phryne (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Pediobius lysis (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus elegantissimus Westwood, 1841 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Cirrospilus lyncus Walker, 1841 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis dolichogaster Ashmead, 1888 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis xanthostoma (Nees, 1834) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Minotetrastichus platanellus (Mercet, 1922) Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae
Conomorium patulum (Walker, 1835) Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor laetus (Marshall, 1885) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor nanus (Reinhard, 1880) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Triclistus podagricus (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Metopinae
Itoplectis alternans (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae
Scambus inanis (Schrank, 1802) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae
Scambus sagax (Hartig, 1838) 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
Find using Google
Find using Google Scholar
Find images using Google

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