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

Join us on Facebook

ERICA. Heaths and Heather. [Ericaceae]


Fourteen species and subspecies of Erica are recorded in Britain. These include Bell Heather (E. cinerea).

Three British miners are recorded on Erica.

A key to the European miners recorded on Erica is provided in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Bell Heather - Erica cinerea. Image: © Linda Pitkin
Bell Heather
Erica cinerea


Key for the identification of the known mines of British
insects (Diptera and non-Diptera) recorded on Erica


1a > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The larva lives outside the mine, protected by a case, and feeds on the underlying plant tissues via a hole cut in the epidermis. From that point it eats away as much leaf tissue as it can reach without fully entering the mine. Mine does not contain frass (Coleophora species).

The fully developed 4 mm to 5 mm case is made of seven to ten mined heather leaves arranged in a neat herring-bone pattern. The cases closely resemble sprigs of heather and are best found by placing swept debris in a box, where the larvae will reveal themselves by climbing the sides (UKMoths). Very small (c. 4 mm) light brown lobe case with a mouth angle of about 40°. The case is composed of 8-10 small leaf fragments, placed in herringbone manner, giving the case the appearance of a small browned ling branchlet (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Calluna and Erica in Britain and elsewhere. Most parts of Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora juncicolella Stainton, 1851 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

1b > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The larva forms a distinctive black case from silk, from which it feeds on the foliage or flowers of heather or bell heather. The larval case reaches around 9 mm in length when fully fed (UKMoths).
Case of Coleophora pyrrhulipennella Image: © Martin Honey (British leafminers)
Case of Coleophora pyrrhulipennella
Image: © Martin Honey (British leafminers)

On Calluna and Erica in Britain and elsewhere. A fairly common species throughout much of mainland Britain. Also occurs sparsely in Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora pyrrhulipennella Zeller, 1839 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

1c > Leaf-miner: Only the very youngest larvae make mines, and it is not well known how these look like: probably small full depth mines. The older larva make a tunnel of silk on a twig, mixed with frass and leaf fragments, and feeds from there on the leaves. (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Erica cinerea in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Xenolechia aethiops (Humphreys & Westwood, 1845) [Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae].



XHTML Validator Last updated 24-Jun-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page