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 scopariella (Fabricius, 1781)
[Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae]

Broom Midget

Lithocolletis scopariella Fabricius, 1781
Phyllonorycter scopariella
(Fabricius, 1781).

Twig-miner: Forms an inflated mine in the green bark of a twig, 15 - 25 mm long. The mine turns brown/grey and is found near to the end of a twig, often on a small plant (British leafminers).

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 is illustrated in British leafminers.

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Cytisus       British leafminers
Cytisus       Pitkin & Plant
Cytisus scoparius Broom British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Cytisus scoparius Broom British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera

Time of year - larvae: September - May (British leafminers).

Time of year - adults: The adult moths occur from late May to July and are most easily found by tapping bushes of the foodplant (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Although distributed fairly widely across much of Britain (UKMoths) including Denbighshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, Elgin, Glamorgan, Kincardineshire, North Aberdeenshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Hampshire, Stafford, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

This is a species not easily encountered. Other members of the genus can be located by their leafmines, but the twig mines are very hard to find (UKMoths).

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 Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, French mainland, Germany, Italian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Russia - Central, Slovakia, The Netherlands and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Cytisus scoparius

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Macrocentrus bicolor Curtis, 1833 Braconidae: Macrocentrinae

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