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


Mompha ochraceella (Curtis, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Momphidae]

Buff Cosmet

Laverna ochraceella Curtis, 1839. Brit. Ent. 16: 735.
Mompha ochraceella
(Curtis, 1839).

Leaf and bark miner: Mining the stems and later the leaves (UKMoths).

The larva lives as a bark miner in late summer and autumn. It descends into the rootstock for hibernation. After hibernation large, lower surface blotch mines are made in the lower leaves, from a gallery in the bark. They start in the base of the leaf, and are centered over the midrib. The mine contains hardly any frass. The larva can make several mines. Sometimes several larvae in a mine. Pupation in 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).

Yellowish white; head, prothoracic and anal plate light brown (Koster, 2002b; Koster and Sinev, 2003a) (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:

Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Epilobium hirsutum Great Willowherb British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: Early spring, up to April (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Flying at night, and attracted to light, the adults can be found on the wing between May and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Occurs widely throughout much of Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Denbighshire, Durham, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Middlesex, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Westmorland (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Fauna Europaea).

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Chamerion angustifolium, Epilobium hirsutum

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Diadegma latungulum (Thomson, 1887) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Encrateola laevigata (Ratzeburg, 1848) 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