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

Brown-tipped Pigmy

Nepticula minusculella Herrich-Schäffer, 1855. Syst. Bearb. Schmett. Europ. 5: 348.
Nepticula embonella
Klimesch, 1978. Tijdschr. Ent. 121 (5): 259, fig'd.
Stigmella minusculella
(Herrich-Schäffer, 1855).

Egg at the underside of the leaf. The mine is a not very strongly contorted corridor, also not limited to a small portion of the leaf, and usually not forming a secondary blotch. Frass black. The frass line is very narrow, especially in the first section of the mine. In the second part the line may be broader, with the frass dispersed or indistinctly coiled, but always the width of the frass remains less than a third of the width of the corridor (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Stigmella minusculella on Pyrus communisMine of Stigmella minusculella on Pyrus communis
Image: © Willem Ellis (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 green; see Gustafsson and van Nieukerken (1990a) and Schoorl (1985a) for a description (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:

Pyrus communis Pear British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Pyrus communis Pear British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Pyrus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Pyrus amygdaliformis     Bladmineerders van Europa
Pyrus communis Pear British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Pyrus elaeagrifolia     Bladmineerders van Europa

? Prunus

spinosa     Bladmineerders van Europa, as Pyrus spinosa (unknown European species)
x Sorbopyrus auricularis     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Hertfordshire (NBN Atlas). See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Corsica, Crete, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Dodecanese Is., French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, North Aegean Is., Poland, Romania, Sicily, Slovakia, Slovenia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia. Also recorded in Nearctic region (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Pyrus communis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis acoris (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis budensis Erdös, 1954 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Adelius erythronotus (Förster, 1851) Braconidae: Cheloninae
Adelius subfasciatus Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Cheloninae

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