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


Ectoedemia argyropeza (Zeller, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Virgin Pigmy

Lyonetia argyropeza Zeller, 1839. Isis: 215.
Ectoedemia argyropeza
(Zeller, 1839).

Galler and Leaf-miner: Gall in petiole, later mine in leaf-blade, in 'green island' (British leafminers). Check fallen leaves.

Oviposition on the petiole, c. 1 cm below the base of the leaf. The larva begins its life as a borer in the petiole, causing it to swell somewhat. When the leaf disc is reached the larva makes an elongate blotch between the midrib and the first lateral vein. Frass in two stripes parallel to the sides of the mine. Pupation external. The larvae are active mainly at night, retreating into the petiole during daytime (Johansson et al., 1990a) (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 is illustrated in 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 illustrated in UKMoths. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Populus tremula Aspen British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Populus tremula Aspen British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Populus tremula Aspen British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Populus tremula Aspen British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July - November (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: There is a single generation, and the adults are on the wing in May and June. It is believed to be parthenogenetic over most of its UK range (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Locally distributed throughout mainland Britain, though more plentiful in the south (UKMoths) including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sutherland, Elgin, Flintshire, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, North Aberdeenshire, North Hampshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Northumberland, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Populus tremula

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis argyropezae Graham, 1963 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nitidifrons Graham, 1963 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Stenomesius rufescens (Retzius, 1783) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Aprostocetus brachycerus (Thomson, 1878) Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae

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 26-Jun-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page