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 ulmifoliae M. Hering 1931
[Lepidoptera: Bucculatricidae]

Bucculatrix ulmifoliae M. Hering, 1931a. Z. wiss. InsektBiol. 21: PAGE

Leaf-miner: Starts as a contorted frass-filled gallery, between the midrib and vein. Later the gallery, with broken black frass, follows a vein before turning away. The final mine is 11-15 mm long. (British leafminers).

Oviposition on the leaf underside, generally in the axil of the midrib and a thick lateral vein. The very first part of the mine is so strongly contorted that sometimes a tiny secondary blotch originates, filled with black frass. Then follows a straight corridor of maximally 15 mm, almost completely filled with frass, mostly closely following a vein. Just before the larva is about to leave the mine (through an exit hole in the leaf underside) it turns away from the vein (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).

Dull, transparent yellowish; older larvae live free at the leaf underside, eating out windows (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).

Dark blackish brown, in a grey-black, ribbed cocoon (Langmaid, Porter and Collins, 2007) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

pumila x japonica     British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Ulmus glabra Wych Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus x hollandica Dutch Elm   Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus minor Small Leaved Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: June, October (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Discovered in 2006 in Surrey (Farnham) (British leafminers). See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including The Netherlands, Germany (Bladmineerders van Europa), Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italian mainland, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and South, Sardinia, ? Sicily, Slovakia and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Ulmus glabra, Ulmus x hollandica, Ulmus minor

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Gelis albipalpus (Thomson, 1884) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae

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