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


Helcystogramma rufescens (Zeller, 1877)
[Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae]

Orange Crest

Recurvaria rufescens Zeller, 1877
Helcystogramma rufescens
(Zeller, 1877).

Grass-spinner: The larva spins grass blades and feeds inside the spiral spinning, causing whitening of the grass blade tip. It changes leaves several times in the course of its development (British leafminers).

Mine of Helcystogramma rufescens
Mine of Helcystogramma rufescens
Image: © (British leafminers)

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 striking black and white striped larva is described and illustrated in British leafminers and UKMoths.

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 and the Encyclopedia of Life. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Arrhenatherum elatius False Oat-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Arrhenatherum elatius False Oat-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Brachypodium sylvaticum False Brome British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Calamagrostis epigejos Wood Small-reed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Poa       British leafminers
Poa       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Arrhenatherum       Belgian Lepidoptera
Poa       Belgian Lepidoptera

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

Time of year - adults: The nocturnal adults fly between June and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Occurring in England and Wales (UKMoths), including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kirkudbrightshire, Leicestershire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Lincolnshire, North Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, South Devon, South Essex, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, South Northumberland, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, West Sussex, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas) and the Channel Is. (Fauna Europaea).

Also recorded in Republic of Ireland (UKMoths; Fauna Europaea and NBDC interactive map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central, East and North, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Arrhenatherum elatius, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Calamagrostis epigejos

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

Find using Google
Find using Google Scholar
Find images using Google

XHTML Validator
Last updated 27-Jun-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page