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


Prays oleae (Bernard, 1788)
[Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae]

Prays oleae (Bernard, 1788).

Leaf-miner: It is the third generation, appearing in the autumn and overwintering, which mines leaves. The larvae spin the leaves, forming a protective cover. The spring (first) generation attack the developing flowers and the second generation live inside the olive kernels (British leafminers).

Initially the larva makes an upper-surface, short, narrow corridor. Later, in early spring, it may abandon this mine and make elsewhere on the leaf an irregular full depth blotch, or it may continue the corridor into a blotch. Most frass is ejected through a hole in the mine; part of it is captured in spinning at the leaf underside. In the end the larva lives free under the leaf, causing window feeding (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).

Described by Amsel and Hering (1931a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths by Andrew Mitchell. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Olea europea Olive   British leafminers
Jasminum   Jasmine   British leafminers
Ligustrum   Privet   British leafminers
Phillyrea       British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Olea europea Olive   Bladmineerders van Europa
Phillyrea       Bladmineerders van Europa

Comments: A very serious pest of Olive, in particular because of the damage to the flowers and fruits (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - larvae: Mining larvae from autumn till early in the following spring. There are two more larval generations, one feeding on the flowers, the second on the developing fruits (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: First discovered in the UK (on Olives) on 22.i.2009 in Addlestone, Surrey by Andy Mitchell (British leafminers), West Gloucestershire (NBN Atlas) and subsequently in a nursery at Rayne and Marks Tey, Essex by Stephen Rolls (British leafminers - Newsletter 26).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Albania, Austria, Azores, Balearic Is., Canary Is., Corsica, Crete, Croatia, Cyclades Is., Cyprus, Dodecanese Is., French mainland, Greek mainland, Italian mainland, Macedonia, Malta, North Aegean Is., Portuguese mainland, Sardinia, Sicily, Spanish mainland, (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Host species unknown

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Dalman, 1820) Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae
Asecodes erxias (Walker, 1848) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Elasmus flabellatus (Fonscolombe, 1832) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Elasmus nudus (Nees, 1834) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Pnigalio agraules (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Pnigalio longulus (Zetterstedt, 1838) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Baryscapus nigroviolaceus (Nees, 1834) Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae
Pteromalus chrysos Walker, 1836 Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae

Pteromalus semotus (Walker, 1834)

Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Trichogramma dendrolimi Matsumura, 1926 Trichogrammatidae: Trichogrammatinae
Trichogramma evanescens Westwood, 1833 Trichogrammatidae: Trichogrammatinae
Trichogramma minutum Riley, 1871 Trichogrammatidae: Trichogrammatinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Bracon crassicornis Thomson, 1894 Braconidae: Braconinae
Bracon hebetor Say, 1836 Braconidae: Braconinae
Bracon intercessor Nees, 1834 Braconidae: Braconinae
Dolichogenidea dilecta (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Apanteles xanthostigma (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Aleiodes gastritor (Thunberg, 1824) Braconidae: Rogadinae
Diadegma armillatum (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Itoplectis alternans (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 Atlas
NHM UK Checklist

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