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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Parornix betulae (Stainton, 1854)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Brown Birch Slender

Ornix betulae Stainton, 1854. Ins. Brit. 3: 205.
Parornix betulae
(Stainton, 1854).

Leaf-miner: A small Phyllonorycter-like mine initially, but with brown rather than green lower epidermis. Later in one or more successive cones formed by folding downwards the edge or tip of a leaf (British leafminers).

The mine begins as an inconspicuous lower surface corridor, mainly recognisable by its brown line of frass. In the next larval stage a lower-surface blotch is made, that soon develops into a tentiform mine; its epidermis turns brown. Frass in a clump in a corner of the mine. After leaving the mine the larva continues feeding in a downwards folded leaf margin, that is fixed with silk (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 Bladmineerders van Europa.

Parornix betulae larva,  lateral
Parornix betulae larva, lateral
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

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

In folded leaf-edge (British leafminers).

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths and the Encyclopedia of Life. The male and female genitalia are illustrated by the Lepidoptera Dissection Group.

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Betula       British leafminers
Betula       Pitkin & Plant
Betula       UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Betula alleghaniensis     Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula grossa     Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula humilis     Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula obscura     Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula papyrifera Paper Birch   Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula pendula Silver Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula pubescens Downy Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula nana Dwarf Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Betula utilis     Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: June, September-October (British leafminers) and are commonest on birch seedlings (UKMoths).

Time of year - adults: The adults fly in May and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Common throughout the British Isles, in heaths and open woodland (UKMoths) including Anglesey (VC52), Banffshire (VC94), Bedfordshire (VC30), Buckinghamshire (VC24), Caernarvonshire (VC49), Cambridgeshire (VC29), Cheshire (VC58), Denbighshire (VC50), Derbyshire (VC57), East Cornwall (VC2), East Kent (VC15), East Norfolk (VC27), East Suffolk (VC25), Glamorganshire (VC41), Herefordshire (VC36), Huntingdonshire (VC31), Merionethshire (VC48), Monmouthshire (VC35), North Essex (VC19), North Hampshire (VC12), North Somerset (VC6), South Northumberland (VC67), Shropshire (VC40), South Aberdeenshire (VC92), South Devon (VC3), South Hampshire (VC11), South Lancashire (VC59), South Wiltshire (VC8), South-west Yorkshire (VC63), Staffordshire (VC39), Surrey (VC17), Warwickshire (VC38), West Gloucestershire (VC34), West Kent (VC16), West Norfolk (VC28), West Suffolk (VC26), Westmorland (VC69) and Worcestershire (VC37) (NBN Gateway).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Ireland's NBDC interactive map).

NBN Grid Map:

NBN Grid Map

Parornix betulae
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, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, East, North, Northwest and South, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine, Also recorded in East Palaearctic (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Interactive Grid Maps of known host species:

Betula nana, Betula papyrifera, Betula pendula, Betula pubescens, Betula utilis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae
Apanteles xanthostigma (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Rhysipolis hariolator (Haliday, 1836) Braconidae: Rhysipolinae
Scambus inanis (Schrank, 1802) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

External links: Search the internet:
Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Gateway
NHM UK Checklist
Find using Google
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Last updated 22-Jul-2016  Brian Pitkin Top of page