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 malella (Stainton, 1854)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Apple Pygmy

Nepticula malella Stainton, 1854. Ins. Brit. Lep. Tin. Pteroph.: 204.
Stigmella malella
(Stainton, 1854).

Leaf-miner: The gallery is sinuous, widening later, with linear frass (British leafminers).

Egg at the underside of the leaf, near a vein. The mine is quite variable. It is a rather strongly tortuous corriodor, sometime widening only a little, sometimes strongly, at times ending in a secondary blotch. Frass black or brown, in a narrow 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).

The larva is yellow, head brown (British leafminers; Briolini (1961a); Gustafsson and van Nieukerken (1990a); 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

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Malus       British leafminers
Malus       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Malus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Malus x astracanica     Bladmineerders van Europa
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 fusca     Bladmineerders van Europa
Malus ringo     Bladmineerders van Europa
Malus sylvestris Crab Apple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus       Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Huntingdonshire, Isle of Wight, Middlesex, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, Shropshire, South Hampshire, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Warwickshire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Fauna Europaea).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Portuguese mainland, 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:

Malus baccata, Malus floribunda, Malus pumila, Malus sylvestris

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Asecodes delucchii (Boucek, 1971) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nitetis (Walker, 1939) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis prodice (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis pubicornis (Zetterstedt, 1838) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus lyonetiae (Ferrière, 1952) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Cirrospilus viticola (Rondani, 1877) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Sympiesis gordius (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Gnamptodon pumilio (Nees, 1834) Braconidae: Gnamptodontinae

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