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


Stigmella lapponica (Wocke, 1862)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Drab Birch Pigmy

Nepticula lapponica Wocke, 1862. Stett. ent. Ztg.: 251.
Stigmella lapponica
(Wocke, 1862).

Leaf-miner: The mine is long, filled with green frass to ¼, then linear (British leafminers).

Oviposition generally at the underside of the leaf. The mine is a slender corridor that hardly widens, even towards the end. The first third is stuffed with diffuse greenish brown frass. After a moult the frass pattern changes completely, into a very narrow, continuous black line. The mine often follows a thick vein over a long distance, but the larva is capable of crossing thick veins, even the midrib (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 a greenish white, head brown (British leafminers).

Pale yellowish green, head dark; the larva lies venter-downwards in the mine. See Gustafsson and van Nieukerken (1990a) for a detailed description (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. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Betula       British leafminers
Betula       Pitkin & Plant
Betula       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Betula       Belgian Lepidoptera
Betula humilis     Bladmineerders van Europa
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
Betula pubescens subsp. tortuosa Arctic Downy Birch   Bladmineerders van Europa. as Betula pubescens subsp. carpatica

Time of year - larvae: Mid June - early July (British leafminers; UKMoths).

Time of year - adults: Single-generation on the wing in May (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Fairly common throughout the British Isles (UKMoths) including Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, Easterness, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Devon, North Ebudes, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Wiltshire, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Fauna Europaea and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central, North and Northwest, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Yugoslavia. Also recorded in East Palaearctic (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Betula nana, Betula pendula, Betula pubescens, Betula pubescens subsp. tortuosa

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
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 12-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page