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


Epinotia subsequana (Haworth, 1811)
[Lepidoptera: Tortricidae]

Dark Spruce Bell

Tortrix subsequana Haworth, 1811. Lep. Brit.: 448.
Epinotia subsequana
(Haworth, 1811).

Leaf-miner: Eggs are deposited in groups of 4-5 on top of the midrib of a young needle. The larva penetrates a needle through an oval opening made in the lower half of a leaf, eats its way up to the tip, then down again, finally leaving the leaf through the same opening. A number of needles are mined in this way. The crossing is protected by spinning between the needles. After a first moult the larva begins to mine less young leaves. Older larvae live free mong spun neeldes (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 black or yellowish brown with black sides; pronotum black. Body pale yellowish to greyish green; pinacula inconspicuous (Bradley et al., 1979a; Patocka, 1960a) (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:

Abies       Pitkin & Plant
Picea       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Abies alba European Silver-fir British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Abies grandis Giant Fir   Bladmineerders van Europa
Picea abies Norway Spruce British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: June - July; hibernation as a pupa (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Cardiganshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Herefordshire, South Hampshire, West Gloucestershire 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, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Italian mainland, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Sardinia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Also recorded in the Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Abies alba, Abies grandis, Picea abies

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.

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