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 lemniscella (Zeller, 1839)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Red Elm Pigmy

Lyonetia lemniscella Zeller, 1839. Isis, Jena 23: 215.
Nepticula marginicolella
Stainton, 1853.
Stigmella lemniscella
(Zeller, 1839).

Leaf-miner: The frass is dispersed in early part of mine (British leafminers).

Oviposition at upper or lower surface. Rather slender corridor mine, hardly widened in the end. The corridor often follows the leaf margin for some distance. The first section of the corridor is almost entirely filled with frass. Frass in the later part of the mine in more or less clear coils. Pupation external; exit slit invariably in upper epidermis (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 yellow (British leafminers). The larva is also illustrated in 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 illustrated in UKMoths by Rob Edmunds. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Ulmus       British leafminers
Ulmus       UKMoths
Ulmus glabra Wych Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. UKMoths
Ulmus procera English Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Ulmus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Ulmus glabra Wych Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus laevis European White-elm   Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus minor Small Leaved Elm British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ulmus pumila     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: There are two generations, with adults in May and August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Distributed throughout the British Isles (UKMoths), including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Derbyshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Merionethshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Essex, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas), although becoming scarcer further north (UKMoths) and the Channel Is. (Fauna Europaea).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

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

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Faroe Is., Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Romania, Russia - Central and East, Slovakia, Slovenia, ? Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Ulmus glabra, Ulmus laevis, Ulmus minor, Ulmus procera

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis amanus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis phryne (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis prodice (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Adelius subfasciatus Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Cheloninae
Adelius viator (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