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


Leucoptera spartifoliella (Hübner, 1813)
[Lepidoptera: Lyonetiidae]

Broom Bent-wing

Tinea spartifoliella Hübner, 1813. Europ. Schmett. Tinea: 49
Leucoptera spartifoliella
(Hübner, 1813); Hübner, 1825. Verz. bekannt. Schmett.: 426.

Bark-miner: A gallery in the bark of the food plant generally mining upwards, similar to that of Trifurcula immundella, which usually mines downwards (British leafminers).

The mines are very hard to detect, but in late spring, the small white pupal cocoons are easy to spot among the dark stems (UKMoths).

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).

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

Pupation in a white silken cocoon attached to a stem (British leafminers). The cocoon is also illustrated in UKMoths.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Cytisus       British leafminers
Cytisus scoparius Broom British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Genista tinctoria Dyer's Greenweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Cytisus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Genista tinctoria Dyer's Greenweed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera

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

Time of year - adults: The adults fly during June and July (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread and common throughout the whole of Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Ayrshire, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonsahire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, Easterness, Elgin, Fife, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Linlithgow, Montgomeryshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Northumberland, Outer Hebrides, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Northumberland, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Stirlingshire, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Perthshire, West Suffolk, Westmorland, Wigtownshire and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Luxembourg, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Northwest, Sicily, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Also recorded in the Nearctic region and Australian region (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Cytisus scoparius, Genista tinctoria

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Entedon parvicalcar Thomson, 1878 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Baryscapus adalia (Walker 1839) Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae
Baryscapus evonymellae (Bouché, 1834) Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae
Baryscapus spartifoliellae Graham, 1991 Eulophidae: Tetrastichinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Gelis trux (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 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page