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


Stigmella incognitella (Herrich-Schäffer, 1855)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Grey Apple Pigmy

Nepticula incognitella Herrich-Schäffer, 1855. Syst. Bearb. Schmett. Europ. 5: 349.
Nepticula pomella
Vaughan, 1858. Ent. Weekly Intel. 5: 44.
Stigmella incognitella
(Herrich-Schäffer, 1855).

Leaf-miner: The mines are found between veins. The initial gallery is narrow and then forms an orange-brown blotch (British leafminers).

Egg at the underside of the leaf. The mine is a small compact corridor, rather strongly widening towards the end, mostly in a vein axil. Colour of the mine often orange. Frass in a broad, irregular central line (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).

Bright yellow to orange. See Briolini (1961a) and Johansson et al. (1990a) for a description of the larva (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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

Adult: The adult is not illustrated in UKMoths (check for update). The species is included in

Comments: In the, mainly older, literature repeatedly is spoken also of Cydonia oblonga, next to Cotoneaster nebrodensis and Sorbus aria. The only nepticulid associated with Cydonia is Stigmella oxyacanthella, but it is hardly conceivable that incognitella could be confused with that species (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Malus       British leafminers
Malus       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Malus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Malus baccata Siberian Crab   Bladmineerders van Europa
Malus pumila Apple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa, as Malus domestica
Malus floribunda Japanese Crab British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Malus sylvestris Crab Apple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Belgian Lepidoptera
Malus sylvestris Crab Apple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al.

Bladmineerders van Europa, as Malus sylvatica

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Caernarvonshire, Cheshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Monmouthshire, North Hampshire, Shropshire, Stafford, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central and Northwest, Sardinia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Malus baccata, Malus floribunda, Malus pumila, Malus sylvatica

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis amanus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis prodice (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Adelius erythronotus (Förster, 1851) Braconidae: Cheloninae
Gnamptodon pumilio (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Gnamptodontinae
Mirax rufilabris Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Miracinae

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 12-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page