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


ERIOPHORUM. Cotton-grasses. [Cyperaceae]

Four species of Eriophorum are recorded in Britain. These include the native Common Cottongrass (E. angustifolium), Slender Cottongrass (E. gracile), Broad-leaved Cottongrass (E. latifolium) and Hare's-tail Cottongrass (E. vaginatum).

Slender Cottongrass (E. gracile) is protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Six British miners arerecorded on Eriophorum.

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

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

1# >Leaf-miner: Details unknown.

On Eriophorum angustifolium in Britain. England in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Monochroa suffusella (Douglas, 1850) [Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae].

1# > Leaf-miner: Details unknown.

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

Elachista kilmunella Stainton, 1849 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1a > Leaf-miner: A linear mine, frequently several larvae feeding together. Pupation at base of leaf with anterior spiracles projecting through the epidermis (Spencer, 1976: 174).

Upper-surface (rarely partly lower-surface) corridor, in about the centre of the blade. The larva changes direction at least twice (up-down-up). Normally the mine doesn't reach the leaf sheath. Larva solitary, several mines on a leaf fuse. Frass in scattered grains, strings or pearl chains. Pupation in the mine; puparium mostly upper-surface.

On Eriphorum in Britain and elsewhere. Uncommon in Britain - Bucks, Hereford, Warwick and Hunts. Widespread in continental Europe. Also recorded in Afghanistan.

Cerodontha geniculata (Fallén, 1823) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: Corridor, 15 cm in the end, descending from the leaf tip. The mine is whtish 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].

1c > 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). 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. Pupation external; the pupa is attached to the rear of the leaf, without a cocoon..

On Carex and Eriophorum in Britain plus Eleocharis elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Biselachista eleochariella Stainton, 1851 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1d > Leaf-miner: In autumn the larva makes a long, brown corridor, and hibernates therein. In spring a new mine is made in another leaf. This one starts near the base of the blade, widens upwards, and finally forms an elongate yellowish irregular blotch of 3-5 cm in length. According to Martini (1912a) a characteristic of this species is the extreme precision with which the mine joins up with the length venation of the leaf. Pupation external; the pupa is attached to the mine without a cocoon.

On Carex, but not yet on Eriophorum, in Britain and Carex, Eriophorum and Scirpus elsewhere. Britain including Banff, Chester, Easterness, Elgin, Mid Perth, North Essex and Stafford. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista serricornis Stainton, 1854 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

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