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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Stigmella catharticella (Stainton, 1853)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Buckthorn Pigmy

Nepticula catharticella Stainton, 1853. Zoologist: 3958.
Stigmella catharticella
(Stainton, 1853).

Leaf-miner: The gallery is contorted in a series of S turns. The frass is initailly cloudy but then darker green being either dispersed or coiled (as shown). A little area of uneaten leaf is between each traverse. Finally the frass turns black and is deposited in a central line. The larva is greenish yellow, head pale brown (British leafminers).

Full depth corridor, beginning at an under-surface egg shell. The corridor makes several sharp turns, causing the loops to (mostly) almost touch each other. In the last section the corridor is appreciably wider. Frass olive green when fresh, brown later, coiled for most of the length of the corridor. Pupation outside the mine (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).

The larva is greenish yellow, head pale brown (British leafminers). Yellowish green; see the description in Gustafsson and van Nieukerken (1990a) (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 not illustrated in UKMoths (check for update). The genitalia are not illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group (check for update).

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Rhamnus catharticus Buckthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Rhamnus catharticus Buckthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

? Frangula alnus Alder Buckthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Rhamnus cathartica Buckthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Rhamnus davunicus     Bladmineerders van Europa
Rhamnus erythroxyloides     Bladmineerders van Europa
Rhamnus imeritinus     Bladmineerders van Europa
Rhamnus saxatilis     Bladmineerders van Europa
Rhamnus saxatilis subsp. tinctorius     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Britain including Bedfordshire (VC30), Cambridgeshire (VC29), East Gloucestershire (VC33), Glamorganshire (VC41), Herefordshire (VC36), Huntingdonshire (VC31), North Hampshire (VC12), North Somerset (VC6), South Wiltshire (VC8), Surrey (VC17), West Gloucestershire (VC34), West Norfolk (VC28), West Suffolk (VC26) and Worcestershire (VC37) (NBN Gateway).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Stigmella catharticella
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, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and East, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:

? Frangula alnus, Rhamnus cathartica

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis amanus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis prodice (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis pubicornis (Zetterstedt, 1838) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Mirax rufilabris Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Miracinae

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 15-Sep-2016  Brian Pitkin Top of page