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 tenerella (Joannis, 1915)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Hornbeam Midget

Lithocolletis tenerella Joannis, 1915
Lithocolletis tenella
Zeller, 1846. Linn. Ent. 1: 236, t. 1 fig. 30.
Phyllonorycter tenerella
(Joannis, 1915).

Leaf-miner: A mine between veins from midrib to leaf-edge, narrow, tubular, with one crease in lower epidermis (British leafminers).

Narrow, finally tubular lower-surface mine between two side veins. The lower epidermis with one strong fold. Pupa in a flimsy cocoon in a corner of the mine, usually in the axil of midrib and side vein. Frass loosely heaped in the opposite corner (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).

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

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths by Rob Edmunds. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Carpinus       British leafminers
Carpinus       UKMoths
Carpinus betulus Hornbeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Carpinus betulus Hornbeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Carpinus betulus Hornbeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ostrya carpinifolia     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Two generations, flying in May then again during July and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Mainly in the south-east of England (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Denbighshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, South-west Yorkshire, West Kent, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map. Occasionally found elsewhere, probably as an introduction with the foodplant (UKMoths).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Carpinus betulus, Ostrya carpinifolia

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides niveipes (Thomson, 1878) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis phryne (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Pediobius alcaeus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
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
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Diadegma nanus (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae

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