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 tiliae (Frey, 1856)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Lime Pigmy

Nepticula tiliae Frey, 1856. Tin. Pteroph. Schweiz.: 375.
Stigmella tiliae
(Frey, 1856).

Leaf-miner: A contorted gallery, early part in underside of leaf (British leafminers).

Egg at the underside of the leaf. The mine is a gradually widening corridor. Its first part generally is lower-surface, hardly visible from above; further on the mine is full depth. Frass deposition very variable, mostly in a narrow central line throughout, but sometiimes widely dispersed or even coiled (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 pale yellow, head pale brown (British leafminers). Pale yellow; described by 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:

Tilia       British leafminers
Tilia x vulgaris Lime   Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Tilia       Belgian Lepidoptera
Tilia alba     Bladmineerders van Europa
Tilia americana     Bladmineerders van Europa
Tilia cordata Small-leaved Lime British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Tilia x euchlora Caucasian Lime   Bladmineerders van Europa
Tilia platyphyllos Large-leaved Lime   Bladmineerders van Europa
Tilia rubra     Bladmineerders van Europa
Tilia tomentosa Silver Lime British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Tilia x vulgaris Lime   Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Caernarvonshire, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Herefordshire, Merionethshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Shropshire, South-west Yorkshire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Westmorland (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Tilia americana, Tilia cordata, Tilia x euchlora, Tilia platyphyllos, Tilia tomentosa, Tilia x vulgaris

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis acoris (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Adelius erythronotus (Förster, 1851) Braconidae: Cheloninae
Adelius subfasciatus Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Cheloninae
Gnamptodon pumilio (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Gnamptodontinae
Pholetesor nanus (Reinhard, 1880) Braconidae: Microgastrinae

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