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


Glaucopsis headleyella (Stainton, 1854)
[Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae]

Self-heal Pigmy

Nepticula headleyella Stainton, 1854. Ins. Brit.: 300.
Trifurcula headleyella
(Stainton, 1854).

Leaf-miner: Egg at the upperside of the leaf. The mine is an extremely long corridor, often following the midrib or the leaf margin, with frass in a narrow central line, widening in te end into an irregular elongate blotch. Corridor sides somehwat irregularly scalloped out, especially towards the end. The larva may move, all the while mining, to another, even a third, leaf by way of the petioles and stem. Therefore one leaf may have only a narrow corridor, another a blotch. Pupation external. Mines mainly in the lowest leaves, difficult to find (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The leaves are stained purple as the larva mines. It usually mines two or three leaves, via the petiole and stem. The mines are long, with linear frass and irregular margins (British leafminers).

Mine of Trifurcula headleyella on Prunella vulgaris
Mine of Trifurcula headleyella on Prunella vulgaris
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 yellow, head light brown (Emmet, 1983a; Klimesch, 1948a); see Gustafsson and van Nieukerken (1990a) 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:

Prunella vulgaris Selfheal British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Pitkin & Plant

Hosts elsewhere:

Prunella grandiflora Large-flowered Selfheal   Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunella laciniata Cut-leaved Selfheal British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Prunella vulgaris Selfheal British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: July to October (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Britain including Dorset, Isle of Wight, North Hampshire, North Northumberland, Surrey and Warwickshire (NBN Atlas). See also British leafminers distribution map.

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Estonia, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia - North, Slovakia, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Prunella grandiflora, Prunella laciniata, Prunella vulgaris

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Pediobius clita (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae

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 20-Oct-2019  Brian Pitkin Top of page