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 zelleriella (Snellen, 1875)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Sandhill Pigmy

Nepticula zelleriella Snellen, 1875. Tijdscr. ent. 18: 113, pl. 7 figs. 1-4.
Nepticula lappovimella
Svensson, 1976. Ent. scand. 7 (3): 204, fig'd.
Stigmella zelleriella
(Snellen, 1875).

Leaf-miner: Egg invariably at the leaf underside. From there runs a short gallery, often partly following the leaf margin, almost stuffed with frass. The corridor widens into a blotch that may occupy half a leaf; the frass here is dispersed. Pupation extrernal. Vacated mines turn black (Bladmineerders van Europa).

A short gallery, almost filled with frass, which usually follows the leaf edge then becomes a blotch, with dispersed frass, and occupying half the leaf. The vacated mines appear black (British leafminers).

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 (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:

Salix repens Creeping Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant
Salix repens Creeping Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

? Salix fusca     Bladmineerders van Europa
Salix lapponum     Bladmineerders van Europa
Salix repens Creeping Willow British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Salix repens subsp. arenaria     Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: About the first half of July and the first half of October (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including East Kent (NBN Atlas).

See also British leafminers distribution map.

S. zelleriella is now not considered as occurring in Ireland - it is listed as such on the website (ref Fauna Europeaea) – the single record was removed by Ken Bond following a review of the genitalia preparation – it was in fact S. salicis. (Bulletin of the Irish Biogeographical Society 36 (2012) : 20) (per. comm. Dave Allen).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Belgium, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Russia - Central, North and Northwest, Sweden and The Netherlands (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Salix lapponum, Salix repens

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown.

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 09-Jun-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page