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 maestingella (Müller, 1764)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Beech Midget

Phalaena maestingella Müller, 1764. F. Ins. Frid.: 58
Phyllonorycter maestingella
(Müller, 1764).

Leaf-miner: A long mine between veins, several creases in lower epidermis. It is strongly contracted, forming a tubular shape (British leafminers).

Oviposition at the underside of the leaf, always near a side vein. The mine begins as an elongate blotch of 5-7 mm alongside the vein. This develops into an elongate lower-surface tentiform mine between two side veins, sometimes from midrib to leaf margin. Contraction of the lower epidemis may give the mine a tubular aspect. The lower epidermis has a number of fine folds that are set so close together as to appear one single strong fold. Al frass is heaped in a corner of the mine. The pupa lies in a loose, white, membranaceous cocoon in the opposite corner (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in UKMoths.

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 British leafminers and Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Fagus       British leafminers
Fagus sylvatica Beech British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Fagus sylvatica Beech British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Fagus crenata Crenate Beech   Bladmineerders van Europa
Fagus sylvatica Beech British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Fagus sylvatica Beech British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Fagus sylvatica subsp. orientalis     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Two broods, flying in May and June, and again in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: It is common throughout Britain (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Caithness, Cambridgeshire, Cardinganshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Gloucestershire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, East Sussex, Easterness, Edinburgh, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Hadddington, Herefordshire, Hertforshire, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Kincardineshire, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Main Argyll, Mid-west Yorkshire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, Montgomeryshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Ebudes, North Hampshire, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, North-east Yorkshire, Pembrokeshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Ross, West Suffolk, Westmorland, Wigtownshire and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas) and the Channel Is.

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and South, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Also recorded in the Near East (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:


British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides buekkensis (Erdös, 1958) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides cilla (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Achrysocharoides latreillii (Curtis, 1826) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis elongata (Thomson, 1878) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis laomedon (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis phryne (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus longiventris (Askew, 1979) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 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 circumscriptus (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Microgastrinae
Diadegma holopygum (Thomson, 1887) Ichneumonidae: Campopleginae
Encrateola laevigata (Ratzeburg, 1848) Ichneumonidae: Cryptinae
Scambus inanis (Schrank, 1802) Ichneumonidae: Pimplinae

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
Find using Google
Find using Google Scholar
Find images using Google

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Last updated 11-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page