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 perpygmaeella (Doubleday, 1959)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Least Thorn Pigmy

Nepticula perpygmaeella Doubleday, 1959
Tinea pygmaeella
Haworth, 1828
Stigmella perpygmaeella
(Doubleday, 1959).

Leaf-miner: The first half of the mine is filled with brown frass and the early gallery is broad. The frass is later coiled and the larva is yellow. S. crataegella has a thinner initial gallery. Mines starting in the petiole are harder to name without seeing the larva (British leafminers).

Oviposition on the underside of the leaf, rarely on the petiole (in Scandinavia the reverse is true, see Johansson et al., 1990a). The mine is a corridor that quickly widens into a secondary blotch without, ar only a very short, free initial corridor part. The mine is constrained between two veins or, less frequently, a lateral vein and the leaf margin. In the pseudoblotch the frass is warm brown and coiled (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).

Yellow (British leafminers; Emmet, 1983a; 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 illustrated in UKMoths by Rob Edmunds. The species is included in

Comments: Skala (1939a) found the mine once also on Prunus domestica. He also mentions the species from Hippophae; the latter association has also been reported by Szocs (1977a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Crataegus       British leafminers
Crataegus       Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Crataegus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Crataegus laevigata Midland Hawthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Crataegus monogyna Hawthorn British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Banffshire, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Middlesex, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, North Northumberland, North Wiltshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Essex, South Lancashire, South Northumberland, South Wiltshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Norfolk, West Suffolk and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

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, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central, Sardinia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Crataegus laevigata, Crataegus monogyna

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis amanus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Cirrospilus vittatus Walker, 1838 Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Seladerma aeneum (Walker, 1833) Pteromalidae: Miscogastrinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Adelius subfasciatus Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Cheloninae
Adelius viator (Förster, 1851) 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