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 plagicolella (Stainton, 1854)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Scrubland Pigmy

Nepticula plagicolella Stainton, 1854. Ins. Brit. Lep. Tin. Coleoph. 1: 303.
Stigmella plagicolella
(Stainton, 1854).

Leaf-miner: A narrow gallery, leading abruptly to a blotch (British leafminers).

Egg at the leaf underside. The first part of the mine consists of a slender undulating corridor with a proportionally wide uninterrupted frass line, that leaves a clear transparent zone at either side. After a moult this corridor widens aburptly into a bloth, that develops into the oppsite direction. The frass is concentrated here ia a diffuse central spot. The mine hardly ever crosses the midrib. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is also illustrated in UKMoths.

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).

Pale yellow, head brown (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. The species is included in

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Prunus       British leafminers
Prunus       Pitkin & Plant
Prunus       UKMoths
Prunus cerasifera Cherry Plum British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Prunus spinosa     UKMoths

Hosts elsewhere:

Malus pumila Apple British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al.

Bladmineerders van Europa, as Malus domestica

Prunus       Belgian Lepidoptera
Prunus armeniaca Apricot   Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus avium Wild Cherry British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus cerasifera Cherry Plum British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus cerasifera var. pissardii     Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus domestica Wild Plum   Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus domestica subsp. insititia Bullace   Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus mahaleb St Lucie Cherry   Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus mume     Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus spinosa Blackthorn   Belgian Lepidoptera
Prunus spinosa Blackthorn   Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus subcordata     Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunus triloba     Bladmineerders van Europa

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

Time of year - adults: The adults are on the wing from May to June and again in August (UKMoths).

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: A fairly common species throughout England, Wales and Ireland (UKMoths) including Anglesey, Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, East Gloucestershire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, East Sussex, East Sutherland, Glamorgan, Herefordshire, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Kincardineshire, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Aberdeenshire, North Devon, North Essex, North Hampshire, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, Radnorshire, Shropshire, South Essex, South Hampshire, South Lancashire, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Suffolk, Westmorland 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, Bulgaria, Corsica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Portuguese mainland, Romania, Russia - Central, Northwest and South, Sardinia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Malus pumila, Prunus armeniaca, Prunus avium, Prunus cerasifera, Prunus cerasifera var. pissardii, Prunus domestica, Prunus domestica subsp. insititia, Prunus mahaleb, Prunus spinosa

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis amanus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis prodice (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Derostenus gemmeus Westwood, 1840 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Derostenus punctiscuta Thomson, 1878 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Coloneura stylata Förster, 1862 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Adelius erythronotus (Förster, 1851) Braconidae: Cheloninae
Adelius subfasciatus Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Cheloninae
Adelius viator (Förster, 1851) Braconidae: Cheloninae
Colastes braconius Haliday, 1833 Braconidae: Exothecinae
Gnamptodon decoris (Förster, 1862) Braconidae: Gnamptodontinae
Gnamptodon decoris (Förster, 1862) 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
Find using Google
Find using Google Scholar
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Last updated 12-Jul-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page