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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Platyptilia gonodactyla (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
[Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae]

Triangle Plume

Alucita gonodactyla Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775. Ank. Syst. Werk. Schmett. Wien.: 146, 300
Alucita diptera
Sulzer, 1776. Gesch. Ins.: 163, t. 23 fig. 19.
Platyptilia farfara
Gregson, 1885.
Alucita trigonodactyla
Haworth, 1811. Lep. Brit.: 478.
Platyptilia gonodactyla
(Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775).

Stem and flower feeder: In the spring the larvae feed in the stems and flowers (UKMoths).

Small, transparent, irregularly shaped full depth mines, less than a square cm, often several in a leaf. Frass granular, little or missing. Afrer some time the larvae leave the mines and continue feeding freely at the leaf underside or under a folded leaf margin (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).

Larva with purple longitudinal lines (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

The cocoon on a leaf and the pupa are illustrated in UKMoths.

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Petasites hybridus Butterbur British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Tussilago       UKMoths
Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Petasites hybridus Butterbur British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Tussilago farfara Colt's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July - November; a spring generation that occurs in March - April bores in the stalks of the inflorescence (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Two generations, one in May and June, and a second in the autumn. Adults are regularly attracted to light (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread and fairly common in open, grassy habitats and waste ground in Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Caithness, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Easterness, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, North-east Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Outer Hebrides, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Devon, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Perthshire, West Suffolk, Westmorland, Wigtownshire, Worcestershire and Shetland (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of 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, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Kaliningrad Region, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, East, Northwest and South, Sardinia, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Petasites hybridus, Tussilago farfara

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Microgaster alebion Nixon, 1968 Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Campoplex tumidulus Gravenhorst, 1829 Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Gelis agilis (Fabricius, 1775) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Scambus brevicornis (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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Find using Google Scholar
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Last updated 10-May-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page