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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Povolnya leucapennella (Stephens, 1835)
Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Sulphur Slender

Gracillaria leucapennella Stephens, 1835. Ill. Brit. Ent. Haust. 4: 368.
Coriscium citrinellum
Zeller, 1839.
Caloptilia leucapennella
(Stephens, 1835)
Povolnya leucapennella
(Stephens, 1835).

Leaf-miner: Initially makes an oval blotch, between the veins. It then makes a small fold at the leaf edge; then two cones, formed by curling the leaf downwards (British leafminers, as Caloptilia leucapennella).

The mine begins as a narrow lower-surface epidermal gallery, that widens into an oval, eventually full depth blotch between two side veins. Later the larva lives free, at first in a folded leaf margin, finally in a partly rolled leaf tip. Possibly a preference for young leaves (Meyrick, cited by Emmet et al., 1985a) (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).

Body greyish white, head brownish (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

At the underside of the leaf, in a fold, under a greyish green membrane (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Adult: The adult is not illustrated in UKMoths (check for update). The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Quercus       Plant (pers. comm., as Caloptilia leucapennella)
Quercus       British leafminers
Quercus ilex Evergreen Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Plant (pers. comm., as Caloptilia leucapennella)

Hosts elsewhere:

Quercus ilex Evergreen Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Quercus robur Pedunculate Oak British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: June - September (British leafminers, as Caloptilia leucapennella)

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Ross, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Haddington, Isle of Wight, Pembrokeshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Northumberland, South Wiltshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Perth and West Ross (NBN Atlas) the Channel Is. (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

Found in oak woodland. Very rare (British leafminers).

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, Balearic Is., Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Russia - Central and South, Sardinia, Sicily, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine. Also recorded in Near East (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Quercus ilex, Quercus robur

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Sympiesis dolichogaster Ashmead, 1888 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Bathythrix thomsoni (Kerrich, 1942) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Diaglyptidea conformis (Gmelin, 1790) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae

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 10-May-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page