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 viscerella (Stainton, 1853)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Plain Elm Pigmy

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

Leaf-miner: A contorted, “gut”-shaped gallery. The fresh frass is reddish in colour (British leafminers).

Very compact upper or lower side mine; a strongly contorted corridor in intestine-like, zigzagging loops; only the very last part of the corridor is free. Frass in the first and in the final part of the mine black, warm brown and coiled in the central section, and, except for the last section, occupying the entire width of the corridor. Fresh mines have a striking red brown colour (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 green (British leafminers). Bright green (Emmet, 1983a) (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:

Ulmus       British leafminers
Ulmus glabra Wych Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Ulmus procera English Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Ulmus minor Small Leaved Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus plotii Plot's Elm   Bladmineerders van Europa, as Ulmus minor var. plotii

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, Durham, East Cornwall, East Gloucestershire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Shropshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Bulgaria, Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dodecanese Is., French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia - East and South, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Ulmus minor, Ulmus plotii, Ulmus procera

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Campoplex difformis (Gmelin, 1790) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae

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