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Moth  Leaf Miners

Leaf Mine - Photo  Copyright 2000 Gary Bradley Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
A great way to see all the details on leaf mines is with a powerful hand lens - click here

Latin name: Stigmella aurella

Size: Wingspan approximately 3mm

Distribution: Throughout the UK.

Months seen: May to September.

Habitat: Hedgerows and bramble thickets.

Food: The larvae eat bramble leaves.

Special features: The serpentine shaped tunnel just under the surface of this blackberry leaf (above) was excavated by the larvae of a tiny moth. The larvae spends the winter in the mine, and then comes out of the leaf to pupate. The adult moth is brown in colour with a bright yellow-green band running horizontally across each wing.

Click for a better viewHere's another mine inside a holly leaf. This one was created by a fly called Phytomyza ilicis. The adult flies lay their eggs on the new foliage between May and June.

Sometimes you'll find a holly leaf with a large tear in the middle of the leaf. This is where a blue tit has pecked into the leaf and eaten the developing larvae.

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  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved