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 rajella (Linnaeus, 1758)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Common Alder Midget


Phalaena rajella Linnaeus, 1758. Syst. Nat. (ed. 10): 542.
Tinea alnifoliella
Hübner, 1796. Samml. Europ. Schmett. Tin. 28: 193.
Phyllonorycter rajella
(Linnaeus, 1758).


Leaf-miner: The mine is underside, small, at or near midrib. The lower epidermis with one strong crease (British leafminers).

Lower-surface tentiform mine, not longer than 20 mm, usually in the axil of a thick lateral vein, with one strong length fold. Pupa in a tough off-white cocoon that is fastened to the floor and the roof of the mine. Almost all frass is incorporated in the sides of the cocoon (visible with a loupe in transparancy as two dark lines). In autumn not infrequently five or more mines in one leaf (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).

Pale green (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

The cremaster is illustrated in British leafminers. The pupa is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Betulaceae        
Alnus       British leafminers
Alnus       UKMoths
Alnus cordata Italian Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Alnus cordata Italian Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Alnus incana Grey Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Betulaceae        
Alnus cordata Italian Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Alnus incana Grey Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Alnus oregona     Bladmineerders van Europa
Alnus viridis Green Alder   Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Two generations; in May and again in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Quite a common species throughout the British Isles (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Banff, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Cheviotland, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Dumfrishire,. East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeen, North Devon, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeen, South Lancaster, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Ross, 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 Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Moldova, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, North and Northwest, Sardinia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Alnus cordata, Alnus glutinosa, Alnus incana, Alnus viridis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chalcidoidea  
Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Dalman, 1820) Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae
Cirrospilus elegantissimus Westwood, 1841 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 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
UKMoths
Find using Google
Find using Google Scholar
Find images using Google


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Last updated 17-Nov-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page