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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Bucculatrix maritima Stainton, 1851
[Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae]

Saltern Bent-wing

Bucculatrix maritima Stainton, 1851. Cat. Suppl.:11

Leaf-miner: The larva creates a narrow gallery containing black or brownish frass, and subsequently one or more shorter mines or windows (UKMoths).

At first a long, narrow, corridor with brown or black frass in a central line; the mine may be upper- or lower-surface of even interparenchymatous, and often enters the cortex of the stem. After some time this mine is vacated and the larva starts making several short full depth blotches. Some larvae keep this habit until short before pupation, others soon begin window-feeding (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in British leafminers.

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 illustrated in UKMoths and by Emmet (1985a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Pupa: The pupae of moths have visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).

The larva pupates in a white ribbed cocoon and is illustrated in UKMoths.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The male genitalia, but not the female genitalia (check for update), are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Aster tripolium Sea Aster British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Aster tripolium Sea Aster British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Aster tripolium Sea Aster British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Aster tripolium Sea Aster British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Aster tripolium Sea Aster British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: April - May and July - August (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: June and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: A relatively common species around the coastal saltings of England and Wales, though probably overlooked as an adult due to its size (UKMoths); Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Cardiganshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Isle of Wight, Kirkudbrightshire, Merionethshire, North Essex, North Northumberland, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, South-east Yorkshire, and West Cornwall, West Gloucesterhire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk and Westmorland (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central, East, North and Northwest, Slovakia, Sweden, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Aster tripolium

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Trichomalopsis tigasis (Walker, 1839) Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Pholetesor maritimus (Wilkinson, 1941) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Gelis nigritulus (Zetterstedt, 1838) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae

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 27-Nov-2017  Brian Pitkin Top of page