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


Bucculatrix cidarella (Zeller, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae]

Alder Bent-wing

Lyonetia cidarella Zeller, 1839. Isis: 216
Bucculatrix cidarella
(Zeller, 1839).

Leaf-miner: The larva of this species creates a gallery mine. The mine is similar to those of the alder-feeding Nepticulidae, but is generally shorter, with the larval exit-hole on the upperside of the leaf rather than the underside. After vacating the mine, the larva grazes on the underside of the leaf in the manner of other Bucculatricidae (UKMoths).

Short and narrow corridor, starting at an oval, iridescent egg shell that is usually placed at the leaf underside, close to a thick vein. The larval chamber is more than three times as long as wide and is vacated through an upper surface exit slit. Frass in a narrow central black line; when the mine is made in Bog-Myrtle the thick frass line almost fills the corridor. Older larvae live free and cause window-feeding (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in British leafminers.

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 mining larvae have well-developed thoracic legs, that distinguish them from those of the Stigmella's mining on Alder (Bladmineerders van Europa). The larva is also illustrated in British leafminers.

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

The larva pupates in a cocoon and is illustrated in British leafminers.

Bucculatrix cidarella
Bucculatrix cidarella cocoon
Image: Rob Edmunds (British leafminers)

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths by Adriaan Peeters. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Myrica       British leafminers
Myrica gale Bog-myrtle   Pitkin & Plant
Myrica gale Bog-myrtle   UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Alnus glutinosa Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Alnus incana Grey Alder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Alnus viridis Green Alder   Bladmineerders van Europa
Myrica gale Bog-myrtle   Belgian Lepidoptera

Time of year - larvae: August and September (UKMoths; British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: May and June, sometimes with a second generation in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Distributed widely across much of the British Isles, though not always common (UKMoths), including Hampshire (Fleet), Suffolk (British leafminers); Anglesey, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshgire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Glamorgan, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Main Argyll, Merionethshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Hampshire, South Northumberland, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Stirlingshire, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas) and Ireland (Fauna Europaea).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Kaliningrad Region, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, East and Northwest, Sardinia, ? Sicily, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Alnus glutinosa, Alnus incana, Alnus viridis, Myrica gale

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Diadegma crassum (Bridgman, 1889) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Diadegma pusio (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