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


Elachista regificella Sircom, 1849
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Wood-rush Dwarf

Elachista regificella Sircom, 1849. Zoologist 7: App. xlii.

Leaf-miner: The mine formed is long, inflated and puckers the leaf surface. The larva often swaps leaves (British leafminers).

Oviposition generally at the underside of the top half of the leaf. Between September and the end of February a very narrow mine is made, not longer than 3 cm, parallel to the midrib. The mine then suddenly widens to almost the full width of the leaf. The frass is concentrated in the transition area of the two mine types. In the broad part folds develop. Larvae can make a new mine, obviously without the initial part. Here the frass in concentrated around the entrance hole. Pupation outside the mine (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).

Head pale honey coloured, mouth-parts a little darker; prothorcic and anal plates and thoracic legs likewise; body greenish black (Langmaid, 2007a) (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:

Luzula pilosa Hairy Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Luzula sylvatica Great Wood-rush British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Occurs in South West England, from Monmouth in Wales and the East of Scotland (British leafminers) including Caernarvonshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, Easterness, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Merionethshire, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Devon, Northamptonshire, Pembrokeshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Hampshire, South Northumberland, Stafford, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Continental Europe including Romania (Fauna Europaea), Germany and The Netherlands (Bladmineerders van Europa).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Luzula pilosa, Luzula sylvatica

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Pholetesor circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor viminetorum (Wesmael, 1837) Braconidae: Microgastrinae

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 18-Oct-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page