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


Stenoptilia millieridactylus (Bruand, 1861)
[Lepidoptera: Pterophoridae]

Saxifrage Plume

Pterophorus millieridactylus Bruand, 1861. Ann. Soc. ent. Fr.: 36, t. 2 fig. 9.
Stenoptilia saxifragae
Fletcher and Pierce, 1940. Ent. Rec. 52: 25. [Synonymised by Gibeaux, 1991. Ent. gall. 2 (1); 53].
Stenoptilia millieridactylus
(Bruand, 1861).

Leaf-miner: The larva mines a number of leaves from their base upwards. The larva hibernates in a hibernaculum in the heart of the plant; pupation outside 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).

Head and prothoracic shield shining dark brown; body yellowish white with broad irregular length lines (UKMoths) (Bladmineerders van Europa). The red stripes on 5 mm larvae usually fade as they grow (UKMoths).

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

Pupae in June and July, and sometimes August, are attached to the plant (UKMoths).

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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Saxifraga       Pitkin & Plant
Saxifraga hypnoides Mossy Saxifrage British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Saxifraga hypnoides Mossy Saxifrage British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: From late August the young larvae unobtrusively mine leaves and stems of the foodplant. Leaf mines are largest and most easily detected in the following April, but larvae are most obvious in May and early June when they feed externally on the leaves and flowers of Mossy saxifrage (UKMoths).

Time of year - adults: June and July, with a small second generation in late August and early September in some years (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Locally common in gardens on both sides of the Pennines and in southern Scotland (UKMoths) including Mid-west Yorkshire, Stafford, West Lancashire and Westmorland (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland (UKMoths).

Distribution elsewhere: Continental Europe including French mainland and Italian mainland (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Saxifraga hypnoides

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.

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 19-Oct-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page