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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Gracillaria syringella (Fabricius, 1794)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Tinea syringella Fabricius, 1794. Ent. Syst. 3: 328.
Caloptilia syringella
(Fabricius, 1794)
Gracillaria syringella
(Fabricius, 1794).

Leaf-miner: Larvae usually gregarious. Early mine an epidermal gallery leading to a contorted blotch with black frass. Subsequently two successive cones formed by folding the tip of a leaf downwards (British leafminers, as Caloptilia syringella).

Often, many leaves on a single bush turn brown and curl up with the mines. The species can be a pest in gardens (UKMoths).

The mine begins at a row of eggs along the midrib. The emerging larvae form relatively broad, inconspicuous, lower-surface corridor. Subsequently a large, grey brown or greenish brown, very opaque upper-surface blotch is made, occupied by ten or more larvae. The mine makes the leaf somewhat bumpy, but the leaf does not fold around the mine, like in Caloptilia cuculipennella. After some time the larvae leave the mine and continue feeding, still comunnally, in a downwards rolled leaf (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).

The larva is illustrated in UKMoths and Bladmineerders van Europa.

Gracillaria syringella larva
Gracillaria syringella larva
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Watch a video of a gracillarid larva feeding.

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

The pupa is illustrated in British leafminers.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths and the Encyclopedia of Life. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Symphoricarpos albus Snowberry British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Fraxinus       British leafminers
Fraxinus excelsior Ash British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Jasminum officinale Summer Jasmine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Ligustrum       British leafminers
Ligustrum       Pitkin & Plant
Ligustrum       UKMoths
Phillyrea latifolia     Pitkin & Plant
Syringa       British leafminers
Syringa       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Chionanthus virginicus     Bladmineerders van Europa
Forestiera acuminta     Bladmineerders van Europa
Forsythia x intermedia Forsythia   Bladmineerders van Europa
Forsythia suspensa Golden-bell   Bladmineerders van Europa
Forsythia viridissima     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus americana White Ash   Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus anomala     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus excelsior Ash British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus monophylla     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus numidica     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus oregona     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus ornus Manna Ash British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus potamophila     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus quadrangulata     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus sambucifolia     Bladmineerders van Europa
Fraxinus viridis     Bladmineerders van Europa
Jasminum nudiflorum Winter Jasmine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ligustrum iboda     Bladmineerders van Europa
Ligustrum ovalifolium Garden Privet British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ligustrum vulgare Wild Privet British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Phillyrea latifolia     Bladmineerders van Europa
Syringa emodi     Bladmineerders van Europa
Syringa komarowii subsp. reflexa     Bladmineerders van Europa
Syringa x persica     Bladmineerders van Europa
Syringa reticulata     Bladmineerders van Europa
Syringa sweginzowii     Bladmineerders van Europa
Syringa vulgaris Lilac British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The adults fly in May and again in July, and can be very common indeed where the mines are to be found (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: A common species throughout Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Ayrshire, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Gloucestershire, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, East Sussex, East Sutherland, Easterness, Edinburgh, Elgin, Flintshire, Forfar, Glamorgan, Haddington, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Main Argyll, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Devon, North Ebudes, North Hampshire, North Lincolnshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire, Orkney, Outer Hebrides, Pembrokeshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Stirlingshire, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Ross, West Suffolk, West Sussex, Westerness, Wetmorland, Wigtownshire, Worcester and Shetland (NBN Atlas), the Channel Is. (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

See also British leafminers distribution map (as Caloptilia syringella).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Dodecanese Is., Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Republic of Moldova, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, East, Northwest and South, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. Also recorded in the Near East and Nearctic Region (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Forsythia x intermedia, Forsythia suspensa, Fraxinus americana, Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus ornus, Jasminum nudiflorum, Jasminum officinale, Ligustrum ovalifolium, Ligustrum vulgare, Phillyrea latifolia, Symphoricarpos albus, Syringa vulgaris

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Asecodes erxias (Walker, 1848) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus diallus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Elachertus artaeus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis dolichogaster Ashmead, 1888 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Earinus elator (Fabricius, 1804) Braconidae: Agathidinae
Bracon abbreviator Nees, 1834 Braconidae: Braconinae
Ascogaster rufidens Wesmael, 1835 Braconidae: Cheloninae
Apanteles obscurus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Dolichogenidea candidata (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Dolichogenidea dilecta (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Glyptapanteles lateralis (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor bicolor (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor viminetorum (Wesmael, 1837) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Rhysipolis meditator (Haliday, 1836) Braconidae: Rhysipolinae
Clypeoplex cerophagus (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Campoplex continuus (Thomson, 1887) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Campoplex pyraustae Smith, 1931 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Diadegma stigmatellae Horstmann, 1980 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Hyposoter leucomerus (Thomson, 1887) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Leptocampoplex cremastoides (Holmgren, 1860) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Porizon transfuga (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Encrateola laevigata (Ratzeburg, 1848) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Gelis areator (Panzer, 1804) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Triclistus podagricus (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Metopinae
Scambus calobatus (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae
Scambus inanis (Schrank, 1802) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

External links: Search the internet:

Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers, as Caloptilia syringella
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
NHM UK Checklist

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Last updated 09-May-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page