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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Phyllonorycter cavella (Zeller, 1846)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Gold Birch Midget

Lithocolletis cavella Zeller, 1846. Linn. Ent. 1: 213, t. 1 fig. 19.
Phyllonorycter cavella
(Zeller, 1846).

Leaf-miner: A large mine, 15-20 mm long, more than six creases, in the lower epidermis (British leafminers).

Relatively large, lower-surface tentiform mine; epidermis rather strongly folded. Pupa in the mine, in a white cocoon (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).

Larvae with an orange-yellow spot dorsally on the sixth abdominal segment (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Cremaster exceptionally long and (see from the side) flat (Gregor and Patocka, 2001a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Betula       Pitkin & Plant
Betula       British leafminers
Betula pendula Silver Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Prunus cerasus Dwarf Cherry British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

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

Time of year - larvae: September - October (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, Durham, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, North Hampshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South -west Yorkshire, Stafford, Stirlingshire, Surrey, West Norfolk, West Perthshire, and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Betula pendula, Betula pubescens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides niveipes (Thomson, 1878) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Pediobius alcaeus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus diallus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Baryscapus nigroviolaceus (Nees, 1834) Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Scambus calobatus (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

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 19-Apr-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page