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


Ochsenheimeria taurella (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
[Lepidoptera: Ypsolophidae]

Feathered Stem-moth

Tinea taurella Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775. Wien. Verz.: 142.
Ypsolophus mediopectinellus
Haworth, 1828. Lep. Brit.: 545.
Ochsenheimeria taurella
(Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775).

Leaf/Stem miner: The larvae mine the stems of various coarse grasses (UKMoths; Plant in Pitkin & Plant, 2005).

The larva mines just a few days in the leaf, then continues as a stem borer on the lower part of the stem. They regularly move to a new stem. The central leaves of the infested plants wither and die (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).

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:

Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Poa spp.     UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Alopecurus pratensis Meadow Foxtail British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Avena sativa Oat   Bladmineerders van Europa
Bromus       Bladmineerders van Europa
Dactylis glomerata Cock's-foot British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Hordeum vulgare Six-rowed Barley   Bladmineerders van Europa
Poa trivialis Rough Meadow-grass British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Secale cereale Rye   Belgian Lepidoptera
Secale cereale Rye   Bladmineerders van Europa
Triticum       Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: Currently unknown.

Time of year - adults: The adults appear between July and September, and fly in the early afternoon sunshine (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Well-distributed throughout England and Wales, but rather unobtrusive and probably overlooked (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Berkshire, Breconshire, Cardiganshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire. Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Merionethshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Westmorland (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (Fauna Europaea and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Dactylis glomerata

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Diblastomorpha cylindrator (Fabricius, 1787) Ichneumonidae: Banchinae

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