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


Caryocolum tricolorella (Haworth, 1812)
[Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae]

Three-colour Groundling

Tinea tricolorella Haworth, 1812. Trans. ent. Soc. Lond.: 338.
Caryocolum tricolorella
(Haworth, 1812).

Leaf-miner: Gallery-like full depth mine, mainly in the base of the leaf, with irregularly scalloped sides. Frass in the oldest part of the mine in thick black grains; further on the mine does not contain frass at all. In the transition between the two parts there is a hole in the epidermis from which frass is ejected. Older larvae live free, between spun terminal shoots (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).

Young, mining larvae green (Hering, 1957a). Older larvae dull whitish green with five dull pink length lines. Head and prothoracic plate black; pinacula small, black (Bland et al., 2002a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

See Patocka and Turcáni (2005a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths by John Murray. The species is included in

Comments: Stellaria uliginosa is treated as Stellaria alsine (Bog Stitchwort) by Stace (2010).

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Stellaria holostea Greater Stitchwort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Stellaria media Common Chickweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Hering, 1957
Stellaria uliginosa Bog Stitchwort British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: December - April (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Caernarvonshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenvonshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Merionethshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, North-east Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, South Hampshire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Fauna Europaea and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, Slovakia, Slovenia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Stellaria holostea, Stellaria media, Stellaria uliginosa (= Stellaria alsine)

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Orgilus pimpinellae Niezabitowski, 1910 Braconidae: Orgilinae

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 12-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page