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


Argyresthia abdominalis Zeller, 1839
[Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae]

Downland Argent

Argyresthia abdominalis Zeller, 1839. Isis: 205.
Argyresthia helvetica Heinemann, 1877. Schmett. Deutsch. 2 (2): 652.

Leaf-miner: The larvae mines several leaves out, working from the base to the tip. It migrates to the next leaf by way of a short corridor in the bark of the twig. The larva therefore does not need to make openings in the needles for entrance or exit. Pupation external, in a spinning on the twig (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Larva: The larvae of moths have a head capsule and chewing mouthparts with opposable mandibles (see video of a gracillarid larva feeding), six thoracic legs and abdominal legs (see examples).

The larva of abdominalis has the body orange brown, spotted reddish brown. Head black, prothoracic plate dark grey, spotted black (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Pupa: The pupae of moths have visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).

Adult: The adult is not illustrated in UKMoths (check for update). The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Juniperus       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Juniperus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Juniperus       Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: March - April (Hering, 1957).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including North Hampshire and West Sussex (NBN Atlas).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Luxembourg, ? Macedonia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia North, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Host species unknown

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Diadegma armillatum (Gravenhorst, 1829) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Diadegma fenestrale (Holmgren, 1860) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae

External links: Search the internet:

Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
NHM UK Checklist

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Last updated 10-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page