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


Coleotechnites piceaella (Kearfott, 1903)
[Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae]

Spruce Groundling

Recurvaria piceaella Kearfott, 1903. Journal N. Y. ent. Soc. 11: 155, t. 9 fig. 10.
Coleotechnites piceaella
(Kearfott, 1903).

Leaf-miner: A group of four to six leaves are completely mined out from the base on. The leaves have a hole near their base; these entrances may be connected by a silken tube. Between the leaves a loose spinning. All frass is ejected. Mines preferably occur when a tree has been weakened by weather conditions or insect pest damage (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).

Orange brown, straw coloured to brick red with light brown head; much darker during the winter rest. Pronotum darker, with lighter anterior border (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:

Picea abies Norway Spruce British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Picea omorika Serbian Spruce   Bladmineerders van Europa
Picea pungens Colorado Spruce   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: September until end-May (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Hertfordshire (NBN Atlas).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Czech Republic, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland and Slovakia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Picea omorika, Picea pungens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Pteromalus chrysos Walker, 1836 Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Pteromalus semotus (Walker, 1834) Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Monodontomerus obscurus Westwood, 1844 Torymidae: Toryminae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Gelis agilis (Fabricius, 1775) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Zoophthorus palpator (Müller, 1776) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Mesochorus vittator (Zetterstedt, 1838) Ichneumonidae: Mesochorinae

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 16-Oct-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page