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


PHILLYREA. [Oleaceae]

Only one species of Phillyrea, (P. latifolia), is recorded in Britain.

Three British miners are recorded on Phillyrea.

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

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

1a > Leaf-miner: Initially an epidermal mine on the upper surface of the leaf, later the mine starts to contract and the leaf concealing the mine. Now the larvae leave the mine and live freely in a downwards rolled leaflet (Catalogue of Belgian Lepidoptera). Larva solitary in an elongate upper-surface epidermal (thence silvery) mine. Frass initially in a rust-coloured central line. Later, when the mine starts to contract and the leaf folds over the mine, the frass is black and concentrated in a corner of the mine. At this point the larva leaves the mine, and starts living freely in a downwards rolled leaflet. The mine can be distinguished from that of G.syringella on the same plant as it is a silver colour whereas that of G.syringella is brownish. Pupation in a flimsy white cocoon, attached hammock-wise within the final cone (Catalalogue of Belgian Lepidoptera).
Caloptilia cuculipennella larva,  dorsal
Caloptilia cuculipennella larva, lateral
Image: © Chris Snyers (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Fraxinus and Ligustrum, but not yet on Phillyrea, in Britain and Fraxinus, Jasminum, Ligustrum, Phillyrea and Syringa elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Caloptilia cuculipennella (Hübner, 1796) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: Larvae usually gregarious. Early mine an epidermal gallery leading to a contorted blotch with black frass. Subsequently two successive cones formed by folding the tip of a leaf downwards (British leafminers, as Caloptilia syringella). Often, many leaves on a single bush turn brown and curl up with the mines. The species can be a pest in gardens. The mine begins at a row of eggs along the midrib. The emerging larvae form relatively broad, inconspicuous, lower-surface corridor. Subsequently a large, grey brown or greenish brown, very opaque upper-surface blotch is made, occupied by ten or more larvae. The mine makes the leaf somewhat bumpy, but the leaf does not fold around the mine, like in Caloptilia cuculipennella. After some time the larvae leave the mine and continue feeding, still comunnally, in a downwards rolled leaf.

Gracillaria syringella larva
Gracillaria syringella larva
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Symphoricarpos, Fraxinus, Jasminum, Ligustrum, Phillyrea and Syringa in Britain and Chionanthus, Forestiera, Forsythia, Fraxinus, Jasminum, Ligustrum, Phillyrea and Syringa elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Gracillaria syringella (Fabricius, 1794) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

1c > Leaf-miner: It is the third generation, appearing in the autumn and overwintering, which mines leaves. The larvae spin the leaves, forming a protective cover. The spring (first) generation attack the developing flowers and the second generation live inside the olive kernels. Initially the larva makes an upper-surface, short, narrow corridor. Later, in early spring, it may abandon this mine and make elsewhere on the leaf an irregular full depth blotch, or it may continue the corridor into a blotch. Most frass is ejected through a hole in the mine; part of it is captured in spinning at the leaf underside. In the end the larva lives free under the leaf, causing window feeding.

On Olea, Jasminum, Ligustrum and Phillyrea in Britain and Olea and Phillyrea elsewhere. First discovered in the Surrey in 2009. Widespread in continental Europe.

Prays oleae (Bernard, 1788) [Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae].

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