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


Paraswammerdamia albicapitella (Scharfenberg, 1805)
[Lepidoptera: Yponomeutidae]

White-headed Ermel

Tinea albicapitella (Scharfenberg, 1805). Vollst. Nat. schädl. Forstinsect. 3: 803
Tinea spiniella
Hübner, 1807. Stett. Ent. Zeit. 32: 67.
Paraswammerdamia albicapitella
(Scharfenberg, 1805).

Leaf-miner: The short full depth corridor mine is made in the leaf in September and the larva then hibernates on the axil of the leaf, making a web and feeding the next spring (British leafminers). In the spring they feed on the leaves from within a silk web (UKMoths).

The larvae make a small full depth corridor in autumn. They pass the winter in a hiberaculum outside the mine, later they live free in a spinning (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mines of Paraswammerdamia albicapitella on Prunus spinosa
Mines of Paraswammerdamia albicapitella on Prunus spinosa
Image: © David Manning (British leafminers)

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).

Free-living larva- Body slender, reddish brown; head light brown; prothoracic plate dark brown. Laterally a bright white, broad but to the rear quickly narrowing length line on thorax of foremost abdomen segments. A similar dorsal line, but narrower and shorter, begins behind the head (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Pupation on a twig in a cocoon (British leafminers).

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Prunus spinosa Blackthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Prunus spinosa Blackthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Prunus spinosa Blackthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Prunus cerasus     Belgian Lepidoptera
Prunus spinosa Blackthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The adults can be found on the wing in July and are attracted to light (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Throughout England, Wales and southern Scotland (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cumberland, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kirkudbrightshire, Leicestershire, Middlesex, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Devon, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Westmorland (NBN Atlas) and the Channel Is.

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

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Apanteles xanthostigma (Haliday, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae

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
Find using Google
Find using Google Scholar
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Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page