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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Platyptilia gonodactyla (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
[Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae]

Triangle Plume

Alucita gonodactyla Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775. Ank. Syst. Werk. Schmett. Wien.: 146, 300
Alucita diptera
Sulzer, 1776. Gesch. Ins.: 163, t. 23 fig. 19.
Platyptilia farfara
Gregson, 1885.
Alucita trigonodactyla
Haworth, 1811. Lep. Brit.: 478.
Platyptilia gonodactyla
(Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775).

Stem and flower feeder: In the spring the larvae feed in the stems and flowers (UKMoths).

Small, transparent, irregularly shaped full depth mines, less than a square cm, often several in a leaf. Frass granular, little or missing. Afrer some time the larvae leave the mines and continue feeding freely at the leaf underside or under a folded leaf margin (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).

Larva with purple longitudinal lines (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

The cocoon on a leaf and the pupa are illustrated in UKMoths.

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

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Petasites hybridus Butterbur British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Tussilago       UKMoths
Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Petasites hybridus Butterbur British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July - November; a spring generation that occurs in March - April bores in the stalks of the inflorescence (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Two generations, one in May and June, and a second in the autumn. Adults are regularly attracted to light (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Widespread and fairly common in open, grassy habitats and waste ground in Britain (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire (VC30), Berkshire (VC22), Breconshire (VC42), Caernarvonshire (VC49), Cambridgeshire (VC29), Cardiganshire (VC46), Carmarthenshire (VC44), Cheshire (VC58), Cumberland (VC70), Derbyshire (VC57), County Durham (VC66), East Cornwall (VC2), East Gloucestershire (VC33), East Kent (VC15), East Norfolk (VC27), East Suffolk (VC25), East Sussex (VC14), East Sutherland (VC107), Easterness (VC96), Glamorganshire (VC41), Huntingdonshire (VC31), Mid-west Yorkshire (VC64), Middlesex (VC21), Monmouthshire (VC35), North Aberdeenshire (VC93), North Essex (VC19), North Hampshire (VC12), North Somerset (VC6), North Wiltshire (VC7), Northamptonshire (VC32), Shropshire (VC40), South Lancashire (VC59), South Somerset (VC5), South Wiltshire (VC8), Staffordshire (VC39), Surrey (VC17), Warwickshire (VC38), West Cornwall (VC1), West Gloucestershire (VC34), West Kent (VC16), West Norfolk (VC28), West Suffolk (VC26), Westmorland (VC69) and Worcestershire (VC37) (NBN Gateway).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea). See also Ireland's NBDC interactive map.

NBN Grid Map:

NBN Grid Map

Platyptilia gonodactyla
NBN Grid Map : NBN Terms and Conditions

Maps are only displayed if the NBN server is active. N.B. Only publicly available records, if any, are shown by default

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Kaliningrad Region, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, East, Northwest and South, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:

Petasites hybridus, Tussilago farfara

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Microgaster alebion Nixon, 1968 Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Campoplex tumidulus Gravenhorst, 1829 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Gelis agilis (Fabricius, 1775) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Scambus brevicornis (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

External links: Search the internet:
Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Gateway
NHM UK Checklist
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Last updated 22-Jul-2016  Brian Pitkin Top of page