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 trifasciata Staudinger, 1871
[Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae]

Triple-barred Argent

Argyresthia trifasciata Staudinger, 1871. Cat. Lep. Europ. Fauna: 425.

Leaf-miner: Oviposition on a young shoot. The larva penetrates a leaf, empties it, leaves it, often by making another hole in the epidermis, and starts a new mine. Older larvae bore in a twig. Pupation external. Mines twigs rurn brown and are dropped (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mines of Argyresthia trifasciata on Thuja occidentalis
Mines of Argyresthia trifasciata on Thuja occidentalis
Image: © Willem Ellis (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 aurulentella has body green; head, prothoracic and anal plate black; feet greenish brown (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

See Patočka and Turčáni (2005a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths and the Encyclopedia of Life. The species is included in

Comments: X Cupressocyparis leylandii is treated as X Cuprocyparis leylandii (Leyland Cypress) by Stace (2010).

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Chamaecyparis       Pitkin & Plant
Cupressocyparis       Pitkin & Plant
Cupressocyparis leylandii   British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Juniperus       Pitkin & Plant
Juniperus       UKMoths
Thuja       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Chamaecyparis       Bladmineerders van Europa
Cupressocyparis leylandii   British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Juniperus       Bladmineerders van Europa
Juniperus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Thuja       Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: Mid June - end March (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: May and June (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: This tiny (6-8 mm wingspan), but quite distinctive moth was not discovered in Britain until 1982, when one was caught in London. More recently there have been several more records and it is thought that these are being imported with garden conifers, probably juniper and Leyland cypress etc. (UKMoths); Cumberland, Denbighshire, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Kincardinshire, Leicestershire, Middlesex, Roxburgh, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Northumberland, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, West Gloucestershire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Italian mainland, Poland, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

X Cupressocyparis leylandii (= X Cuprocyparis leylandii)

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.

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 08-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page