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


Ocnerostoma piniariella Zeller, 1847
[Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae]

White Pine Ermel

Ocnerostoma piniariella Zeller, 1847. Linn. Ent. 2: 299.

Leaf-miner: The larva feeds within the needle from the tip to base (British leafminers).

The mine begins in the tip of a needle, and descends to about three quarter of its length. With the exception of the larval chamber the entire mine is filled with frass, giving the needle a vinous colour. The mine is so transparant the the larva is visible in its chamber (Hering, 1957a). The full grown larva leaves the mine by making an opening, then forms an elongate cocoon out of silk between a few spun needles (Koch, 1932a; Freeman, 1960a) (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).

The larva is illustrated in British leafminers and (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Pupation in a white cocoon between spun needles (British leafminers). The pupa is also illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths by Rob Edmunds. The species is included in

Comments: According to Hering (1957a) the species also lives on Juniperus albeit rarely. In the light of the strongly different leaf morphology this seems improbable. Also references to Abies alba and Picea abies seem doubtful.

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Pinus radiata Monterey Pine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Pinus sylvestris Scots Pine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Pinus sylvestris Scots Pine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Pinus sylvestris Scots Pine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Pinus cembra Arolla Pine   Bladmineerders van Europa
Pinus mugo Dwarf Mountain-pine   Bladmineerders van Europa
Pinus sylvestris Scots Pine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

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

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: The distribution of this species is not fully understood due to confusion with the very similar Ocnerostoma friesei, but is believed to be relatively widespread in much of England and Scotland (UKMoths) including Cheshire, Dorset, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Easterness, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Kincardineshire, North Essex, North Somerset, Stafford, Stirlingshire, West Norfolk, West Perthshire, West Suffolk and Westmorland (NBN Atlas).

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Italian mainland, Kaliningrad Region, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Pinus cembra, Pinus mugo, Pinus radiata, Pinus sylvestris

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Dalman, 1820) Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae
Cirrospilus pinicolus Askew, 1984 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Gelis fuscicornis (Retzius, 1783) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Herpestomus wesmaeli Perkins, 1953 Ichneumonidae: Ichneumoninae

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