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


Phyllocnistis citrella Stainton, 1856
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]


Phyllocnistis citrella Stainton, 1856. Trans. ent. Soc. Lond. (n.s.) 3: 302.

Leaf-miner: Long epidermal corridor with a well-marked central frass line. Mine mostly lower-surface, less often upper-surface, and rarely on the rind of the developing fruit. Pupation, as in all Phyllocnistis species, in a chamber at the end of the corridor, under an overturned part of the leaf margin (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mines on leaves and a fruit are also illustrated in and 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).

Watch the video by Ryan Perry, a student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

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

Adult: The adult is not illustrated in UKMoths (check for update). The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Citrus       British leafminers
Citrus       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Citrus       Bladmineerders van Europa

Comments: Mainly on Citrus species, but also on other genera of the same family (Rutaceae). The species seems to be native to Asia, but is found now in all regions where Citrus species are cultivated, and is a very serious pest there Bladmineerders van Europa. A tropical species which is not yet a British species. Most specimens are intercepted at points of entry. It is a pest of commercial citrus orchards (British leafminers).

See also Sánchez et al. 2002. Life cycle of the citrus leafminer Phyllocnistis citrella Stainton (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) on sweet orange (Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck) Entomotropica (2).

Time of year - larvae: Throughout the year (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Found and reared from Citrus from a garden centre in Burford, Oxfordshire by Robert Homan (British leafminers - Newsletter 26) and Entomologist's Rec. J. Var
(124) 2012 :279-281.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including the Azores, Balearic Is., Canary Is., Greek mainland, Italian mainland, Madeira, Malta, Portuguese mainland, Sardinia, Spanish mainland. Also recorded in Afro-tropical region and Nearctic region (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Host species unknown

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Dalman, 1820) Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae
Asecodes erxias (Walker, 1848) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus diallus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Pnigalio agraules (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ratzeburgiola incompleta Boucek, 1971 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gregori Boucek, 1959 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis notata (Zetterstedt, 1838) Eulophidae: Eulophinae

External links: Search the internet:
Belgian Lepidoptera
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
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Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page