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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Scrobipalpa nitentella (Fuchs, 1902)
[Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae]

Common Sea Groundling


Lita nitentella Fuchs, 1902. Stett. ent. Ztg. 63: 324
Scrobipalpa nitentella
(Fuchs, 1902).


Leaf-miner: The first instar larva tends to make a U-shaped mine, whereas later larvae make irregular mines. Final instar larvae spin the leaves together and feed in a silken tube amongst the seeds (British leafminers).

Young larvae make a short, spiralled corridor typically U-shaped). This stage is followed by an irregular, sometimes branching, greenish-white blotch. In their final stage the larva lives free in a silken tunnel among the leaves (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 larva is illustrated in British leafminers, UKMoths and Bladmineerders van Europa.

Scrobipalpa nitentella larva,  dorsal
Scrobipalpa nitentella 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).

Pupation in a cocoon of sand grains and detritus (British leafminers).

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

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Brassicaceae        
Cakile maritima Sea Rocket British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Chenopodiaceae        
Atriplex       Pitkin & Plant
Atriplex hastata Spear-leaved Orache British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Atriplex hastata Spear-leaved Orache British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Atriplex littoralis Grass-leaved Orache British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Atriplex littoralis Grass-leaved Orache British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Atriplex portulacoides Sea-purslane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Atriplex portulacoides Sea-purslane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Atriplex portulacoides Sea-purslane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima Sea Beet British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Chenopodium       British leafminers
Chenopodium       Pitkin & Plant
Chenopodium       UKMoths
Salicornia europaea Common Glasswort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Sarcocornia perennis Perennial Glasswort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Suaeda maritima Annual Sea-blite British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Suaeda maritima Annual Sea-blite British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Suaeda maritima Annual Sea-blite British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Chenopodiaceae        
Atriplex littoralis Grass-leaved Orache British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Atriplex portulacoides Sea-purslane British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Atriplex prostrata Spear-leaved Orache British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Beta maritima Sea Beet British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Chenopodium       Bladmineerders van Europa
Salicornia europaea Common Glasswort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Suaeda       Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: July and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: One of the commonest gelechid moths on saltings in the British Isles (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, East Ross, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Kincardineshire, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeen, North Essex, North Somerset, South Aberdeen, Surrey and Westmorland (NBN Atlas). It can easily be confused with several other Scrobipalpa species, so examination of the genitalia is usually necessary, though even then they can be difficult to determine (UKMoths).

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 Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - South, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Atriplex hastata, Atriplex littoralis, Atriplex portulacoides, Atriplex prostrata, Beta maritima, Cakile maritima, Salicornia europaea, Sarcocornia perennis, Suaeda maritima

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea  
Apanteles metacarpalis (Thomson, 1895) Braconidae: Microgastrinae


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 09-May-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page