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 dubitella (Herrich-Schäffer, 1855)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Southern Midget

Lithocolletis dubitella Herrich-Schäffer, 1855. Schmett. Europ. 5: 325.
Phyllonorycter dubitella
(Herrich-Schäffer, 1855).

Leaf-miner: A large lower surface mine, which contorts the upper surface of the leaf. A very similar mine to P. hilarella and it needs to be bred out for a positive identification (British leafminers).

Rather large, lower-surface tentiform mine, mostly between two side veins. The upperside is fairly strongly inflated. The underside has many narrow folds, not easily seen because of the indumentum at the underside of the leaf. Frass pakced in a corner of the mine. Neither mine, cocoon nor pupa can be distinguished from those of Ph. hilarella (Gregor and Patocka, 2001a) (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).

Described by Gregor and Patocka (2001a) and Patocka and Turcáni (2005a). Cremaster large, about square, with a single pair of stout spines that are curved outwards (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Salix caprea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Salix caprea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Salix caprea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Salix caprea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Salix caprea Goat Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July, September - October (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: There are two generations of the moth, adults on the wing in May and June, and again in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Southern and central England, recently recorded in Lancashire (Chorlton, Greater Manchester) (UKMoths); Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Durham, East Kent, East Norfolk, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Essex, South-west Yorkshire, Surrey, West Gloucestershire and West Kent (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Russia - Central, North and Northwest, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Salix caprea

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ageniaspis fuscicollis (Dalman, 1820) Encyrtidae: Encyrtinae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis grahami Erdös, 1966 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae

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