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

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Elachista eleochariella Stainton, 1851
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Small Bog Dwarf


Elachista eleochariella Stainton, 1851. Suppl. Cat. Brit. Tin. Pteroph.: 10
Biselachista eleochariella (Stainton, 1851); Staudinger, 1901. Cat. No. 3999.


Leaf-miner: Mine upper-surface, starting a few cm under the tip of the leaf.A corridor first runs upwards, then doubles, widening all the while. The final part takes half the width of the leaf. The complete corridor is c. 6 cm long; except for the last centimetres it is completely filled with frass (Bland, 1996a). Pupation external; the pupa is attached to the rear of the leaf, without a cocoon.

Buhr (1964) describes the mine on Eleocharis as follows: The larva makes in the finest, almost bristle-like culms, descending from a spikelet, an almost full depth corridor in which only here and there a few green stripes remain. Frass very loose, in extremely fine dots of threads (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).

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 male and female genitalia, are illustrated (as Biselachista eleochariella) by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Comment: As the larva of Elachista eleochariella is now known from Carex nigra and Carex panicea, questions arise as to whether it mines any other Carex species and also whether it feeds on any non- Carex species. Although larvae have been recorded on Eriophorum angustifolium and Eleocharis palustris, the larvae of Biselachista albidella have been reported from the same foodplants. Because the adults of the two species are similar macroscopically, further investigation of the biology is needed and in particular whether the larva does occur on these two plants (Heckford and Beavan, 2013, Entomologist’s Gazette 64: 209–215).

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Cyperaceae        
Carex flacca Glaucous Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pelham-Clinton, 1988a
Carex nigra Common Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bland, 1996a
Eriophorum angustifolium Common Cottongrass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bland, 1996a
Eriophorum angustifolium Common Cottongrass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Cyperaceae        
Carex flacca Glaucous Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Carex nigra Common Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bland, 1996a
Carex panicea Carnation Sedge British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Eleocharis palustris Common Spike-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Buhr, 1964a
Eriophorum angustifolium Common Cottongrass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: May - June (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Britain including Anglesey (VC52), Caernarvonshire (VC49), Cambridgeshire (VC29), Cheshire (VC58), East Cornwall (VC2), Easterness (VC96), Shropshire and Stafford (NBN Gateway, as Biselachista eleochariella).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea). See also Ireland's NBDC interactive map.

NBN Grid Map:

NBN Grid Map

Elachista eleochariella as Bielachista eleochariella
NBN Grid Map : NBN Terms and Conditions

Maps are only displayed if the NBN server is active. N.B. Only publicly available records, if any, are shown by default

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Romania, Russia - North, Sweden and The Netherlands (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:

Carex flacca, Carex nigra, Carex panicea, Eleocharis palustris, Eriophorum angustifolium

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.



External links: Search the internet:

Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Gateway, as Biselachista eleochariella
NHM UK Checklist, as Biselachista eleochariella
UKMoths

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Last updated 19-Jul-2016  Brian Pitkin Top of page