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


Phyllonorycter acerifoliella (Zeller, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Maple Midget

Lithocolletis acerifoliella Zeller, 1839
Tinea sylvella
Haworth, 1828
Phyllonorycter acerifoliella
(Zeller, 1839).

Leaf-miner: The mine is small, usually in lobe of leaf, causing the lobe to fold downwards (British leafminers).

Relatively small, lower surface tentiform mine. The mine lies often under a leaf segment, and when the mine develops and contracts the segment usually folds down over the mine. The larva also feeds upon the palisade parenchyma of the roof of the mine, causing the upper surface of the leaf to appear damaged. Pupa blackish brown in a tight, thin-walled cocoon that is attached to the floor of the mine; all frass is accumulated in the opposite corner of 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).

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

The cremaster has four hooks (British leafminers). The pupa is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Acer campestre Field Maple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Acer campestre Field Maple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Acer campestre Field Maple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Acer campestre Field Maple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Acer campestre Field Maple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Acer tataricum Tartar Maple   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July and more commonly in September and October (UKMoths).

Time of year - adults: The adults emerge in two generations, in May and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in England and Wales, including Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Durham, East Gloucestershire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Montgomeryshire, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Northamptonshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, South Hampshire, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Albania, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and South, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine, Yugoslavia. Also recorded in Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Acer campestre, Acer tataricum

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides acerianus Askew, 1974 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis elongata (Thomson, 1878) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus lyncus Walker, 1841 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae
Pholetesor bicolor (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Pholetesor laetus (Marshall, 1885) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Diadegma holopygum (Thomson, 1887) 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