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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Stigmella confusella (Wood & Walsingham, 1894)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Pale Birch Pigmy

Nepticula confusella Wood & Walsingham, 1894. Ent. mon. Mag. 30: 272.
Stigmella confusella
(Wood & Walsingham, 1894).

Leaf-miner: The mine is long, frass linear (British leafminers).

Egg at the underside of the leaf, close to a vein. The mine is a very long and slender gallery, hardly widening at all. Frass in a continuous, very narrow central line. The corridor follows veins over long distances, obtaining thereby an angular appearance (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 a greenish white, head brown (British leafminers). The larva is illustrated in 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 male genitalia, but not the female genitalia (check for update), are not illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Betula       British leafminers
Betula       Pitkin & Plant
Betula       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Betula nana Dwarf Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula pendula Silver Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula pubescens Downy Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July - August (British leafminers; UKMoths).

Time of year - adults: May (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Widely distributed across much of the British Isles (UKMoths) including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Easterness, Elgin, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeen, North Devon, North Ebudes, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeen, South Hampshire, South Lancaster, South Wiltshire, South-east Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

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.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, ? Romania, Russia - Central, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands. Also recorded in East Palaearctic (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Betula nana, Betula pendula, Betula pubescens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Gnamptodon pumilio (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Gnamptodontinae

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 17-Aug-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page