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

N.B. Links to the latest version of 'Leafminers and plant galls of Europe' are being edited

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Scrobipalpula tussilaginis (Stainton, 1867)
[Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae]

Colt's-foot Groundling


Gelechia tussilaginis Stainton, 1867. Mitt. Schweiz. ent. Ges. 3: 294.
Lita tussilaginella
Heinemann, 1870. Schmett. Deutschl. 2 (1):151.
Scrobipalpula tussilaginis
(Stainton, 1867).


Leaf-miner: The larva mines the leaves creating an irregular blotch (UKMoths). Forms an upper surface mine, with the surounding area turning purple.

The frass is accumulated in one place in the mine and the larva may conceal itself under this (British leafminers).

Initially a branching corridor, later more an elongate upper-surface blotch from the leaf base to the leaf margin, finally occupying a good part of the leaf. Most frass is deposited in one section of the mine, forming a crust below which the very agile larvae can retreat (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Scrobipalpula tussilaginis
Mine of Scrobipalpula tussilaginis on Tussilago
Axmouth Undercliff, Devon
Image: © Bob Heckford

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 of tussilaginis is apple green; head and prothoracic plate dark brown; full-grown larva with rose-red segment limits (Pelham-Clinton, 1989a) (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 John Walters. The male genitalia, but not the female genitalia (check for update), are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

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

Hosts elsewhere:

Asteraceae        
Petasites albus White Butterbur British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
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: August - September, but two generations occur in Britain, in July and October - November (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: There are two generations, moths on the wing in June and July and again in August and September (UKMoths; British leafminers).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: A scarce and very local species, only discovered in Britain in 1983 where it was found on the coast in south Devon. It is now known to occur in a few localities eastwards to Hampshire on sparsely vegetated coastline (UKMoths; South Devon and South Hampshire (NBN Atlas).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Czech Republic, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia - East, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Petasites albus, Petasites hybridus, Tussilago farfara

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea  
Campoplex tumidulus 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
UKMoths
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Last updated 14-Aug-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page