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


PYRACANTHA. Firethorns. [Rosaceae]

Four species of Pyracantha are recorded in Britain. These include Firethorn (P. coccinea).

Six British miners are recorded on Pyracantha.

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

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

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)


1b > Leaf-miner, but not a case-bearer: The larva lives mainly inside the mine. Mine usually contains frass. In later instars the larva may live sandwiched between two more or less circular sections cut from the leaf.


2 > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Tubular leaf case, 6-7 mm long, light, later dark brown, trivalved, with a mouth angle of 45°. The larva lives at the underside of the leaf, and makes sizable full depth mines there.

On Malus and Prunus, but not yet on Pyracantha, in Britain and Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Prunus, Pyracantha and Sorbus elsewhere. Southern England. Widespread in continental Europe

Coleophora prunifoliae Doets, 1944 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

3a > Leaf-miner: The larvae initially mining the leaves in a short, contorted gallery. As the larva develops it leaves the mine to feed externally, creating windows on the upperside of the leaves. Oviposition at the leaf upperside, egg shell iridescent. Small, hook-like corridor, mostly in a vein axil. Frass in a very thick central line. The larva soon leaves the mine through an untidy hole and subsequenty feeds living freely on the leaf. Pupation occurs in a ribbed white cocoon spun on debris. The winter is passed in this stage..

On Crataegus, Malus, Pyrus and Sorbus, but not yet on Pyracantha, in Britain and Amelanchier, Chaenomeles, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Cydonia, Malus, Mespilus, Prunus, Pyracantha, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread throughout England and southern Scotland. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Bucculatrix bechsteinella (Bechstein & Scharfenberg, 1805) [Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae].

3b > Leaf-miner: A long, whitish smoothly-curved upper-surface mine with broken black frass. Oviposition is by means of an ovipositor; what remains is a small scar: no egg shell is visible at the start of the mine. From here a long, sometimes very long, slender, full depth corridor winds throught the leaf, not steered by leaf margin or the leaf venation. The midrib is crossed effortless (see 'special'); the corridor frequently also crosses itself; the section of the leaf cut off then usally turns brown and dies off. Frass in a narrow central line. The larva vacates the mine prior to pupation through an exit in the upper epidermis. Pupation takes place in a cocoon that hangs in a 'hammock' in a fold of the leaf. The vacated larval chamber is proportionally much longer than in the case of Stigmella mines ( > 3 x longer than broad).

Polyphagous. On numerous genera and species in several plant families, but not yet on Pyracantha, in Britain. On numerous genera and species in several plant families, including Pyracantha elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Lyonetia clerkella (Linnaeus, 1758) [Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae].

3c > Leaf-miner: The mine is upper side and silvery, over the midrib. Leaf later may fold upwards, concealing the mine. Oviposition is on the base of the midrib. From there an epidermal corridor is made, running towards the leaf tip. The corridor then is widened into an epidermal, silvery blotch, finally into a longitudinally contracted tentiform mine. Frass in fine, shining grains, mostly in a line over the midrib, rarely in a mass in a corner of the mine. The epidermis of the mine has a number of yellow spots, but never the black specks that are apparent in P. corylifoliella.

Polyphagous. On Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Fagus, Laburnum, Malus, Pyracantha, Pyrus and Sorbus in Britain and additionally Chaenomeles, elsewhere. Widespread in England, southern Scotland and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter leucographella (Zeller, 1850) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3d > Leaf-miner: The mine is often in the lobe of the leaf. There are many creases in lower epidermis, which is strongly contracted, causing lobe or leaf-edge to fold over. Rather small, lower-surface, tentiform mine with a yellow-green epidermis that has a number of folds. Pupation within the mine. The pupa of the summer generation in a quite flimsy cocoon; in the autumn generation there is more, golden, silk. All frass in a clump in the distal angle of the mine.

On Crataegus, Cydonia and Pyrus, but not yet on Pyracantha, in Britain and Crataemespilus, Crataegus, Cydonia, Mespilus, Pyracantha, Pyrus and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter oxyacanthae (Frey, 1856) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

3e > Leaf-miner: The frass linear in early gallery, widening to blotch with dispersed frass. Oviposition at random point of the leaf, either at upper- or lower-surface. First a quite slender corridor is made, with a relatively broad, continuous, frass line, that always leaves a clear margin at either side; the corridor winds freely through the leaf. This initial corridor often abruptly changes in direction, widens into a blotch that mostly lie along the leaf margin. Pupation outside the mine.

On Crataegus, but not yet on Pyracantha, in Britain and Hippophae, Amelanchier, Cotoneaster, Crataegus, Pyracantha and Sorbus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Stigmella hybnerella (Hübner, 1813) [Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae].

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