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 regiella (Herrich-Schäffer, 1855)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Purple-shot Pigmy

Nepticula regiella Herrich-Schäffer, 1855. Syst. Bearb. Schmett. Europ. 5: 351.
Stigmella regiella
(Herrich-Schäffer, 1855).

Leaf-miner: The initial gallery is narrow and is filled with red-brown coiled frass. It then turns abruptly to form a blotch with a thin line of blackish frass, which may be coiled or irregular (British leafminers).

Egg mostly at the underside of the leaf, generally close to the leaf margin, sometimes on the petiole. The mine begins as a corridor that usually follows the leaf margin. The frass here is warm brown in colour and is indistinctly coiled. After a moult the larva starts making an elongate blotch; generally its direction is opposite to that of the initial corridor (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 yellow with a pale brown head (British leafminers; Emmet, 1983a; 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 species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Crataegus       British leafminers
Crataegus       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Crataegus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Crataegus laevigata Midland Hawthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Mespilus germanica Medlar British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: August - November (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, South Wiltshire, Stafford, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine. Also recorded in East Palaearctic (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus monogyna, Mespilus germanica

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis prodice (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Seladerma aeneum (Walker, 1833) Pteromalidae: Miscogastrinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Adelius subfasciatus Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Cheloninae

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