Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Bucculatrix thoracella

Bucculatrix thoracella (Thunberg, 1794)

lime bent-wing

Bucculatrix thoracella mine

Tilia cordata, Maarn

Bucculatrix thoracella mine and cocoonet

Tilia sp., Belgium, prov. Namur, Andenne: vacated mine and moulting cocoonet © Jean-Yves Baugnée

Bucculatrix thoracella: vacated mines on Acer platanoides

Acer platanoides, Belgium, Liège, Coteaux de la Citadelle © Jean-Yves Baugnée

Bucculatrix thoracella: vacated mines on Acer platanoides

vacated mines


Small, full depth, hook-like corridor, usually in a vein axil, with a proportionally large larval chamber. The remainder of the mine almost entirely stuffed with frass. At the start of the mine an iridescent egg shell. The larvae soon leave their mine and continue feeding at the underside of the leaf.

Upon vacating the mine the larva moults, in discoidal cocoonet made for this purpose. Larvae of many Bucculatrix species moult a second time in a similar fashion. Pupation in a spindle-shaped, greyish or yellowish brown, strongly ribbed cocoon.

host plants

Malvaceae, and other woody plants

Acer campestre, platanoides, pseudoplatanus; Aesculus hippocastanum; Alnus; Betula; Carpinus betulus; Castanea sativa; Fagus sylvatica; Sorbus; Tilia cordata, x euchlora, x eueopaea, mongolica, platyphyllos, tomentosa

In the Netherlands and Britain exclusively on Tilia. In Belgium almost exclusively – Jean-Yves Baugnée found mines on Acer platanoides in 2013. Where in the UK Tilia cordata and T. x vulgaris co-occur, there is a clear preference for cordata (Emmet, 1985a).

Found once also on Castanea (Hering, 1957a).


Larvae in June – July and August – October; hibernation as pupa in a cocoon (Kuchlein & van Frankenhuyzen, 1994a).


BE recorded (Phegea, 20909).

NE recorded (Kuchlein & van Frankenhuyzen, 1994a; Kuchlein & de Vos, 1999a;, 2009).

LUX not recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2009).

distribution within Europe

Entire Europe, except Ireland, and the Balkan Peninsula (Fauna Europaea, 2009), Laštůvka & Laštůvka (2017a).


Head yellowish white, pronotum light grey (Hering, 1957a).


In a white, ribbed cocoon, often on the trunk of the host plant. The pupa is described by Patočka (1996a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a). It is distinguished from all other known species of the genus by a dorsolateral group of two tubercles on abd. 10.


First observed in the Netherlands in 1967. The species has since strongly expanded southwards and has increased in abundance. Also common on ornamental Limes in city centres. Also in Britain the eighties a strong expansion was seen (Emmet, 1984c).

Burmann (1991a) described how the species behaved as un urban pest in Tyrol, mainly on Lime and Maple.


Bengtsson & Johansson (2011a), Biesenbaum (2010a), Borkowski (2003a), Buhr (1964a), Burmann (1991a), Buszko (1992b), Emmet (1984c, 1985a), Gielis, Huisman, Kuchlein ao (1985a), Haase (1942a), Hartig (1939a), Hering (1957a, 1961a), Huemer (2012a), Huemer & Erlebach (2003a), Kasy (1983a, 1987a), Klimesch (1937b, 1950c, 1956a), Kollár & Hrubík (2009a), Klimesch (1958c), Kuchlein & van Frankenhuyzen (1994a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a),Kiurz & Kurz (2007a), Kurz & Embacher (2012a), Laštůvka & Laštůvka (2017a), Leutsch (2011a), Maček (1999a), Meijer, Smit, Beukeboom & Schilthuizen (2012a), Michna (1975a), Nowakowski (1954a), Patočka (1996a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a), De Prins (2010a), Robbins (1991a), Sefrová (2005a), Smart (2017a), Sønderup (1949a), Szőcs (1977a, 1978a, 1981a), Zoerner (1969a).

Last modified 19.xii.2021