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


PICEA. Spruces. [Pinaceae]

Thirteen species of Picea are recorded in Britain. All are introduced and include Norway Spruce (P. abies). The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for conifers.

Seven British miners are recorded on Picea.

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

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

1a > Leaf miner and case-bearer: The larva lives in a silken tube, covered with fragments of bark and lichen on the bark of the older part of a branch. From this tube the larva mines the basal half of a number of leaves. The larva moults in the tube, and pupates in a side branch of it..

On Picea in Britain and Abies and Picea elsewhere. Widepread in Britain and continental Europe.

Batrachedra pinicolella (Zeller, 1839) [Lepidoptera: Batrachedridae].

1b > Leaf-miner, but not a case-bearer


2a > Leaf-miner: Groups of young needles are completely mined out by the young larvae. Between the needles only a few strands of silk (often also bud scales are trapped in the silk). Later in summer the larva lives free among spun needles. Larva light greenish, with black brown head and pronotum. Anal comb present, c. 6 prongs. Pinacula moderately large, concolorous with the integument. Prolegs with c. 45 crochets in a double row.

On Abies and Picea in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Epinotia pygmaeana (Hübner, 1799) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

2b > Leaf-miner: Eggs are deposited in groups of 4-5 on top of the midrib of a young needle. The larva penetrates a needle through an oval opening made in the lower half of a leaf, eats its way up to the tip, then down again, finally leaving the leaf through the same opening. A number of needles are mined in this way. The crossing is protected by spinning between the needles. After a first moult the larva begins to mine less young leaves. Older larvae live free among spun needles.Head black or yellowish brown with black sides; pronotum black. Body pale yellowish to greyish green; pinacula inconspicuous.

On Abies and Picea in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in continental Europe.

Epinotia subsequana (Haworth, 1811) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

2c > Leaf-miner: The larva mines about five needles completely out, moving from one needle to the other by way of a silken tube along the twig. Most frass remains in the tube. The larva mines all its life. Pupation external, often in the tube.

On Picea in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded from the Republic of Ireland

Epinotia nanana (Treitschke, 1835) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

2d > Leaf-miner: The larvae feed among the needles, mining when small, and later in an untidy spinning.

The larva completely mines a group of c. 15 needles. The larva penetrates the base of the needles. Most frass is deposited outside the mines. The mined needles are surrounded by a light spinning, especially around their bases and therefore do not drop quickly. Pupation external.

On Picea in Britain and elsewhere. Fairly common throughout the British Isles. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Epinotia tedella (Clerck, 1759) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

2e > Leaf-miner: A group of four to six leaves are completely mined out from the base on. The leaves have a hole near their base; these entrances may be connected by a silken tube. Between the leaves a loose spinning. All frass is ejected. Mines preferably occur when a tree has been weakened by weather conditions or insect pest damage. The larvae orange brown, straw coloured to brick red with light brown head; much darker during the winter rest. Pronotum darker, with lighter anterior border.

On Picea in Britain and elsewhere. Distribution in Britain unknown. Widespread in continental Europe

Coleotechnites piceaella (Kearfott, 1903) [Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae]

2f > Leaf-miner: In Belgium the larva feeds at first between some needles of Larix spun together. It has been observed also on Picea sitchensis. After hibernation it feeds in the expanding buds. Pupation in the larval feeding place (Belgian Lepidoptera). In late summer the larva spins a few needles together, and mines them out. The larva hibernates between some mined needles that haven been spun together. After hibernation the larva bores into a developing bud, eventually pupating there.

On Picea in Britain and Larix and Picea elsewhere. England and Wales. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Spilonota laricana (Heinemann, 1863) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

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