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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Ectoedemia weaveri (Stainton, 1855)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Cowberry Pigmy

Nepticula weaveri Stainton, 1855. Entomol. Ann.: 49, pl. 1 fig. 5.
Ectoedemia weaveri
(Stainton, 1855).

Leaf-miner: The young larvae hatch in around August and form a narrow gallery mine in the leaves of cowberry, eventually turning into a blotch in the centre of the leaf, where it pupates in an inflated cavity (British leafminers).

Oviposition at the underside of the leaf. The mine begins as a long corridor, with the frass in a broad central line, leaving a clear margin at either side. This gallery abruptly widens into a large full depth blotch, with a central concentration of frass. The full-grown larva makes an exit slit in the lower epidermis, then spins an orange-yellow cocoon within the mine, that is connected with the exit by a silken tunnel. The cocoon causes the leaf to pucker blister-like (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).

Pale amber, head light brown (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 illustrated in UKMoths. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Vaccinium vitis-idae Cowberry British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Vaccinium vitis-idae Cowberry British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Vaccinium vitis-idae Cowberry British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Vaccinium vitis-idae Cowberry British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The adult moths emerge over a long period, any time between April and August (British leafminers).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: A submontane species, occurring on high moorland and mountains in Wales, northern England and northern Scotland, when it can be relatively common if the foodplant is present (British leafminers) including Banffshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Easterness, Elgin, Flintshire, Kincardineshire, Merionethshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, Stafford and Warwickshire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Russia - Central and North, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Also recorded in East Palaearctic (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Vaccinium vitis-idaea

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Apanteles contaminatus (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae (see Shaw, 2012. Ent. Gazette 63: 174)
Apanteles xanthostigma (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Mirax rufilabris Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Miracinae

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 17-Apr-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page