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 subnigrella Douglas, 1853
[Lepidoptera: Elachistidae]

Dark Dwarf

Elachista subnigrella Douglas, 1853. Trans. ent. Soc. Lond. 2 (1): 210, pl. 18, fig. 11.

Leaf-miner: Narrow, flat, corridor descending from the leaf tip. Frass in an almost continuous line. The larva usually makes several mines. Mines pale yellow green at first, turning purple later. Pupation external (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).

Larva pale yellow, head and prothoracic plate light brown (Bland, 1996a). Hering (1957a), however, states that the head is (dark) brown (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Described by Patocka (1999a) (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:

Avenula pubescens Downy Oat-grass   Pitkin & Plant
Bromopsis erecta Upright Brome   Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Avena       Bladmineerders van Europa
Avenula pubescens Downy Oat-grass  

Bladmineerders van Europa

Bromopsis erecta Upright Brome  

Bladmineerders van Europa, as Bromus erectus

Calamagrostis epigejos Purple marram British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Festuca       Bladmineerders van Europa
Holcus mollis Creeping Soft-grass   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: Currently unknown.

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, East Norfolk, Flintshire, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Stafford, West Gloucestershire, West Kent and West Norfolk (NBN Atlas).

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Avenula pubescens, Bromopsis erecta, Calamagrostis epigejos, Dactylis glomerata, Holcus mollis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Glyptapanteles fraternus (Reinhard, 1881) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Glyptapanteles fraternus (Reinhard, 1881) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor elpis (Nixon, 1973) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Gelis anthracinus (Förster, 1850) 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 18-Oct-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page