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 esperella (Goeze, 1783)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Dark Hornbeam Midget

Tinea esperella Goeze, 1783.
Tinea quinnata
Geoffroy, 1785
Phyllonorycter quinnata (Geoffroy, 1785)
Lithocolletis carpinicolella
Stainton, 1851. Cat. Brit. Tin. Suppl.: 13
Phyllonorycter quinnata (Stainton, 1851)
Phyllonorycter esperella
(Goeze, 1783).

Leaf-miner: The mine is upper side, over veins. Silvery, with brown speckling, later contracting to cause leaf to fold upwards (British leafminers).

Upper-surface tentiform mine. The early mine is roundish, silvery, flat, and lies centered over a side vein. The older mine strongly contracts and sometimes almost doubles the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The leaf-mine is also illustrated in UKMoths, as Phyllonorycter quinnata.

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 Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

See Gregor and Patočka (2001a) and Patočka and Turčáni (2005a) for a description of the pupa. The cocoon and pupa are illustrated in British leafminers. The cremaster is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Adult: The adult is illustrated in UKMoths (as Phyllonorycter quinnata). The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Carpinus betulus Hornbeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Carpinus betulus Hornbeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths, as Phyllonorycter quinnata (Stainton, 1851)

Hosts elsewhere:

Carpinus betulus Hornbeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Carpinus betulus Hornbeam British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ostrya carpinifolia     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The adults emerge, like many other Phyllonorycter species, in May and again in August as a second brood (UKMoths, as Phyllonorycter quinnata (Stainton, 1851)).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: A local species, mainly found in the south and south-east of England northwards to the midlands and South York, the most northerly record to date (UKMoths, as Phyllonorycter quinnata) including, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Denbighshire, Dorset, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Shropshire, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkashire, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas). See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

Also recorded in Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Carpinus betulus, Ostrya carpinifolia

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides carpini Bryan, 1980 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Neochrysocharis longiventris (Askew, 1979) Eulophidae: Eulophidae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae

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, as Phyllonorycter quinnata
UKMoths, as Phyllonorycter quinnata
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Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page