Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Phytomyza hellebori

Phytomyza hellebori Kaltenbach, 1872

Phytomyza hellebori: occupied mines on Helleborus spec.

Helleborus spec., Belgium, prov. Namur, Dourbes, Montagne aux Buis © Carina Van Steenwinkel

Phytomyza hellebori: larva in mine on Helleborus spec.

larva in its mine

puparia in their mines

two puparia in their mines


Helleborus foetidus © Rob Edmunds, UK


Helleborus niger, Diemen


The mine begins as a narrow, sometime stellate, strikingly dark corridor that slowly widens into an upper-surface blotch. Frass in pearl strings. Pupation within the mine, in a lower-surface pupal chamber; the anterior spiracula penetrate the epidermis (Hering, 1957a; Spencer, 1976a; Stubbs, 2000a; Welch, 2000a). (Stubbs [2000a] describes the pupal chamber as upper-surface).

host plants

Ranunculaceae, monophagous

Helleborus dumetorum, foetidus, lividus, niger, odorus, purpurascens, viridis.

So far the species has been found in the UK exclusively on H. foetidus, even in gardens where several species of Helleborus grow together. Also Ludwig (1907a), who complained about severe damage to his H. foetidus, did not find mines on H. niger and viridis in the same plantation. Only as late as in 2013 mines were found by Keith Palmer on H. niger.


According to Hering there are two or three generations per year; larval activity continues throughout the winter.


BE Jean-Yves Baugnée found mines on Helleborus foetidus at Villers-sur-Lesse on October 22, 2008; see also Mortelmans ao (2014a).

NE recorded (Ellis)

LUX not recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2008).

distribution within Europe

From the UK to Italy, and from Germany to the Pyrenees; also Finland (Fauna Europaea, 2008).



Phytomyza buhri Hering, 1930.


The species seems to be a newcomer both in the UK and in the Netherlands (Storey, 2004a). However, in Belgium the species was seen in a considerable number of natural habitats (Mortelmans ao, 2014a).


Beiger (1979a), Buhr (1941b), Černý & Merz (2006a), Csóka (2003a), Guglya (2021a), Hartig (1939a), Hering (1924b, 1932e, 1957a), Ludwig (1907a), Maček (1999a), de Meijere (1926a), Mortelmans, Boeraeve, Tamsyn ao (2014a), Palmer (2013a), Skala (1936a, 1951a), Spencer (1976a), Stubbs (2000a), Storey (2004a), Surányi (1942a), von Tschirnhaus (1999a), Welch (2000a).

Last modified 7.x.2021