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 tristrigella (Haworth, 1828)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Elm Midget

Tinea tristrigella Haworth, 1828. Lep. Brit.: 576.
Phyllonorycter tristrigella
(Haworth, 1828).

Leaf-miner: The mine is long and narrow, tubular, caused by strong contraction. The lower epidermis with several strong creases (British leafminers).

Long, lower-surface tubular tentiform mine between two lateral veins, in many cases from midrib to leaf margin. Lower epidermis with several long folds close together. Pupa light brown, in tough brown papery coccoon that is attached to the lower epidermis. All frass in a mass in one corner of the mine (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 head and pronotum of the larva are illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Phyllonorycter tristrigella larva,  dorsal
Phyllonorycter tristrigella 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).

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

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The male genitalia, but not the female genitalia (check for update), are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Ulmus       British leafminers
Ulmus       UKMoths
Ulmus glabra Wych Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Ulmus procera English Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Ulmus pumila x japonica     Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Ulmus glabra Wych Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus x hollandica Dutch Elm   Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus laevis European White-elm   Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus minor Small Leaved Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Two generations, adults at large during May and again in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Relatively common in mainland Britain northwards to southern Scotland (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kirkudbrightshire, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Merionethshire, Middlesex, North Devon, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, Northamptonshire, Pembrokeshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Ulmus glabra, Ulmus x hollandica, Ulmus laevis, Ulmus minor, Ulmus procera

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis phryne (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysonotomyia germanicus (Erdös, 1956) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae

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 27-Nov-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page