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 geniculella (Ragonot, 1874)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Sycamore Midget

Lithocolletis geniculella Ragonot, 1874. Petit. nouv. ent. 5: 346.
Phyllonorycter geniculella
(Ragonot, 1874).

Leaf-miner: The mine is rounded, between veins. The lower epidermis with several small creases. The leaf may fold downwards if mine is at margin (British leafminers).

The mine begins as an inconspicuous lower surface epidermal corridor, beginning at an iridescent egg shell. This corridor is followed, and mostly replaced, by a relatively small, lower-surface, tentiform mine with many weak folds. When the mine happens to lie close to the leaf margin the leaf may fold downwards over the mine. Pupa in the mine, dark brown - black, in a loosely spun cocoon. Frass accumulated in a 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).

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).

The pupa is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

Comments: Buhr (1935a) additionally mentions Acer saccharinum (Bladmineerders van Europa) as a host plant.

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Acer pseudoplatanus Sycamore British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The moths are on the wing in May and August, and can be found resting on the trunks of sycamore, but being so small are difficult to find (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in Britain including Anglesey, Ayrshire, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Gloucetsershire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Fife Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Man, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Montgomeryshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Devon, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, North-west Yorkshire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland, Wigtownshire and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

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

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Acer pseudoplatanus

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides acerianus Askew, 1974 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Encrateola laevigata (Ratzeburg, 1848) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
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
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Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page