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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Stigmella luteella (Stainton, 1857)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Short-barred Pigmy

Nepticula luteella Stainton, 1857. Entomol. Ann.: 110.
Stigmella luteella
(Stainton, 1857).

Leaf-miner: The mine is contorted, starting underside, frass linear (British leafminers).

Egg at the underside of the leaf, mostly close to a vein. The mine is a fairly slender corridor that even towards the end hardly widens. The first part consists of a some close loops around the oviposition site; this part generally is lower-surface. The later part is much less contorted, with a frass line that occupies one third to one half the width of the gallery. The sides of the corridor are irregularly scalloped out. Usually no more than one mine per leaf. Pupation external, exit slit in the lower epidermis (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in UKMoths.

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 yellow, gut-line green (British leafminers).

Pale yellow, head light brown; lies venter-upwards in the mine. See Gustafsson and van Nieukerken (1990a) for a detailed description (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Betula       British leafminers
Betula       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Betula nana Dwarf Birch British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. 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

Time of year - larvae: August - November (British leafminers; UKMoths).

Time of year - adults: Adults flying from May to July (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Fairly common in mainland Britain (UKMoths) including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Easterness, Elgin, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Middlesex, North Aberdeenshire, North Essex, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Russia Central, Russia North, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Yugoslavia Also recorded in East Palaearctic (Karsholt and van Nieukerken in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Betula nana, Betula pendula, Betula pubescens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Gnamptodon pumilio (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Gnamptodontinae

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 26-Apr-2018  Brian Pitkin Top of page