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


PLATANUS. Planes. [Platanaceae]

Two species and one subspecies of Platanus are recorded in in Britain. All are introduced and include London Plane (P. occidentalis x orientalis = P. x hispanica).

Two British leaf-minera are recorded on Platanus.

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

London Plane - P. occidentalis x orientalis = P. x hispanica. Image: © Brian Pitkin
London Plane
Platanus x hispanica

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

1a > Leaf-miner: Large mines, often several larvae in one leaf. Generally underside between veins. The upper side becomes mottled. On upper side can be over veins. The mine begins as an epidermal corridor, sometimes several cm in length. This widens into a shallow, greyish green, irregularly lobed blotch. The fully developed mine is an orange brown tentiform mine with a number of length folds. Almost all mines are lower-surface. The upperside of the mine then is a mottled oval, because the larva here and threre has eaten holes in the roof of the mine, i.e., the palissade parenchhyma. Pupation inside a white cocoon.

hyllonorycter platani larva,  dorsal
Phyllonorycter platani larva, dorsal
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Platanus in Britain and elsewhere. Since its discovery in London in 1989, this species has slowly spread through the Southern counties of the UK and into the West Country, Midlands, North Somerset and South Gloucester. Widespread in continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter platani (Staudinger, 1870) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

1b > Leaf-miner: The mine is upper side and silvery, over the midrib. Leaf later may fold upwards, concealing the mine. Oviposition is on the base of the midrib. From there an epidermal corridor is made, running towards the leaf tip. The corridor then is widened into an epidermal, silvery blotch, finally into a longitudinally contracted tentiform mine. Frass in fine, shining grains, mostly in a line over the midrib, rarely in a mass in a corner of the mine. The epidermis of the mine has a number of yellow spots, but never the black specks that are apparent in P. corylifoliella.

On Platanus, Crataegus, Fagus, Laburnum, Malus, Pyracantha, Pyrus and Sorbus in Britain and additionally Chaenomeles, elsewhere. Widespread in England, southern Scotland and continental Europe.

Phyllonorycter leucographella (Zeller, 1850) [Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae].

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