Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Phyllonorycter cavella

Phyllonorycter cavella (Zeller, 1846)

gold birch midget

on Betula

Phyllonorycter cavella: mine on Betula

Betula, Denmark © Mathias Holm

Phyllonorycter cavella: larva


Phyllonorycter cavella: mine on Betula

Betula, Bergen NH © John van Roosmalen

Phyllonorycter cavella: mine on Betula

underside of the mine

Phyllonorycter cavella: larva


Phyllonorycter cavella: mine on Betula

Betula, Belgium, prov. Namur, Viroinval, Nismes, RN Montagne-aux-Buis © Steve Wullaert

Phyllonorycter cavella: larva



Relatively large, lower-surface tentiform mine; epidermis rather strongly folded. As the picture above show, the living larva is strikingly uniformly yellow to brownish yellow; this may well be a specific character. Pupa in the mine, in a white cocoon.

host plants

Betulaceae, monophagous (?)

Betula pendula, pubescens.

Rarely seen also on Prunus cerasus; see below.


Larvae from August till end-October; hibernation as pupa (Emmet ao, 1985a).


BE recorded (Phegea, 2009).

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

LUX not recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2009).

distribution within Europe

Europe, except Ireland, the Iberian and Balkan Peninsula, and the Mediterranean Islands (Fauna Europaea, 2009).


Cremaster exceptionally long and (seen from the side) flat (Gregor & Patočka, 2001a).


Lithocolletis cavella.

A specimen bred from Prunus cerasus has been described as a separate subspecies, Lithocolletis cavella milleri Povolný & Gregor 1950.

parasitoids, predators

Achrysocharoides niveipes.


Kuznetzov & Baryshnikova cite as a host plant “Ulmus, Betula, occasionally Salix“. that seems a mistake.


Bachmaier (1965a), Bengtsson & Johansson (2011a), Buhr (1964a), Buszko (1992b), Emmet, Watkinson & Wilson (1985a), Gregor & Patočka (2001a), Hering (1957a), Jaworski (2009a), Kirichenko, Triberti, Akulov ao (2019a), Klimesch (1950c), Kuchlein & Donner (1993a), Kuchlein, Gielis, Huisman, ao (1988a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), Kuznetzov & Baryshnikova (2006a), Langohr & Schreurs (1987a), Maček (1999a), Nel & Varenne (2014a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a), Povolný & Gregor (1950a), De Prins (1998a), Robbins (1991a), van Roosmalen, Wijker & Knijnsberg (2013a), Schütze (1931a), Starý (1930a), Szőcs (1977a), Zoerner (1969a).

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