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


Kessleria saxifragae (Stainton, 1868)
[Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae]

Highland Ermel

Zelleria saxifragae Stainton, 1868. Trans. ent. Soc. Lond.: 139.
Kessleria saxifragae
(Stainton, 1868).

Leaf-miner: The leaf rosette is covered by several larvae with a spinning, under which each larva mines out a few leaves. Sometimes a leaf contains one or a few large frass pellets. 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 and prothoracic plate black. Body spindle-shaped, dull olive green with a slightly darker dorsal line; reddish brown markings laterally on each segment; venter green (Agassiz, 1996a). The larva, illustrated on (2009) looks rather different (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 not illustrated in UKMoths (check for update). The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Saxifraga aizoides Yellow Saxifrage British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Saxifraga hirsuta Kidney Saxifrage British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Saxifraga spathularis St Patrick's-cabbage   Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Saxifraga hirsuta Kidney Saxifrage British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Saxifraga paniculata Livelong Saxifrage   Bladmineerders van Europa
Saxifraga spathularis St Patrick's-cabbage   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: Currently unknown.

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain (Fauna Europaea).

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, French mainland, Germany, Italian mainland, Macedonia, Poland, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Switzerland and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Saxifraga aizoides, Saxifraga hirsuta, Saxifraga paniculata, Saxifraga spathularis

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 26-May-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page