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


ELEOCHARIS. Spike-rushes. [Cyperaceae]

Thirteen species and subspecies of Eleocharis are recorded in Britain. These include Common Spike-rush (E. palustris). The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for Eleocharis.

Two British miners are recorded on Eleocharis.

A key to the European miners recorded on Eleocharis is provided in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Common Spike-rush - Eleocharis palustris. Image: © Linda Pitkin
Common Spike-rush
Eleocharis palustris

Key for the identification of the known mines of British
insects (Diptera and non-Diptera) recorded on Eleocharis

1a > Leaf-miner: Corridor, 15 cm in the end, descending from the leaf tip. The mine is whitish and shallow at first, then becomes deeper, yellowish white, and more transparent. Pupation external; pupa, not in a cocoon, attached to the leaf.

On Carex, Eleocharis and Eriophorum in Britain and Carex, Eleocharis, Eriophorum, Scirpus, Calamagrostis, Deschampsia, Melica and Poa elsewhere. Northern Britain & Ireland. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista albidella Nylander, 1848 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: Mine upper-surface, starting a few cm under the tip of the leaf. A corridor first runs upwards, then doubles, widening all the while. The final part takes half the width of the leaf. The complete corridor is c. 6 cm long; except for the last centimetres it is completely filled with frass (Bland, 1996a). Pupation external; the pupa is attached to the rear of the leaf, without a cocoon. Buhr (1964) describes the mine on Eleocharis as follows: The larva makes in the finest, almost bristle-like culms, descending from a spikelet, an almost full depth corridor in which only here and there a few green stripes remain. Frass very loose, in extremely fine dots of threads.

On Carex and Eriophorum, but not yet on Eleocharis, in Britain plus Eleocharis elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Biselachista eleochariella Stainton, 1851 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

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