Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Phyllonorycter leucographella

Phyllonorycter leucographella (Zeller, 1850)

firethorn leaf-miner

on Pyracantha

Phyllonorycter leucographella: occupied mine on Pyracantha coccinea

Pyracantha coccinea, Hungary, Budapest, © László Érsek

Phyllonorycter leucographella: occupied mine on Pyracantha coccinea

same leaf, underside: the mine is completely restricted to the palissade parenchyma

Phyllonorycter leucographella: occupied mine on Pyracantha coccinea

larva in the sap drinking stage in its mine

Phyllonorycter leucographella mine

Pyracantha coccinea, Amsterdam


Phyllonorycter leucographella: mine on Sorbus aucuparia

Sorbus aucuparia, Belgium, prov. Namur, Couvin, lieu-dit “Champagnat” © Stéphane Claerebout

Phyllonorycter leucographella: mine on Sorbus aria

Sorbus aria, Denmark, Sjaelland, Melby (near Hundested) © Paul van Wielink


Oviposition is on the base of the midrib. From there an epidermal corridor is made, running towards the leaf tip. The corridor then is widened into an epidermal, silvery blotch, finally into a longitudinally contracted tentiform mine. Frass in fine, shining grains, mostly in a line over the midrib, rarely in a mass in a corner of the mine. The epidermis of the mine has a number of yellow spots, but never the black specks that are apparent in Ph. corylifoliella. Contrary to the species also there is no inner mine (Emmet, 1998a; Triberti, 2007a).

host plants

Rosaceae, oligophagous

Pyracantha coccinea

When population densities become high in summer also other Rosaceae may be infested, like Chaenomeles; Cotoneaster lucidus; Crataegus; Cydonia oblonga; Malus; Pyrus; Sorbus torminalis. Walczak ao (2010a) present a much longer list of species (all Rosaceae) on which mines were found in two botanical gardens. Because only Pyracantha keeps his foliage in winter, and leucographella larvae do not have a diapause, this is their normal “home base” (Sefrová. 1999a; Triberti, 2007a).

In Britain mines have been found that probably belong to leucographella on Fagus sylvatica (Langmaid & Young, 2009a); Ben van As reports to have found similar mines in the Netherlands (UK leafminers, 2008). For the moment it seems that that larvae cannot complete their development on this substrate.

Phyllonorycter leucograpgella minies on Fagus sylvatica

Fagus sylvatica, Ben’s herbarium leaf with mines on beech.



Stigter & van Frankenhuyzen, (1991a) found two larval generations, May-August and September-April; the species hibernates in the larval stage.


BE recorded (De Prins, 1998a).

NE recorded (Stigter & van Frankenhuyzen, 1991a).

LUX not recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2008).

distribution within Europe

From Finland to the Pyrenees, Italy and Greece, and from Britain to Hungary (Fauna Europaea, 2008).




Lithocolletis leucographella.


Probably the species was restricted to the Mediterranean Region in the early 20th century. Since its first observation in the Netherlands (1984, de Lutte, in the eastern part of the country) the species has rapidly expanded and became extremely common in gardens and parks until about 2006. After that time the abundance has declined sharply. Also in Germany and Britain leucographella has made a spectacular expansion (Bathon, 1984a; Emmet, 1989a, 1990a; Nash ao, 1995a).


Bathon (1984a), Bengtsson & Johansson (2011a), Braggion (2013a), Buhl, Falck, Jørgensen, ao (2005a), Csóka (2001a, 2003a), Deutsch (2012a), Deutschmann (2008a), Emmet (1998a), Gregor & Patočka (2001a), Hartig (1939a), Hering (1957a), Homan (2012a), Huemer (1988a), Huisman & Koster (2000a), Jaworski (2009a), von Kayser & van Loh (2004a), Kirichenko, Augustin & Kenis (2018a), Kollár (2007a), Kollár & Hrubík (2009a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), Kuznetzov & Baryshnikova (2006a), Langmaid & Young (2009a), Liška ao (2000a), Maček (1999a), Matošević, Pernek, Dubravac & Barić (2009a), Meijer, Smit, Beukeboom & Schilthuizen (2012a), Nel & Varenne (2014a), van Nieukerken, Gielis, Huisman ao (1993a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a), Pröse (1995a), Robbins (1991a), Roweck & Savenkov (2007a), Sauer (1981a), Sefrová (1999a, 2005a), Stammer (2016a), Stigter & van Frankenhuyzen (1991a), Triberti (2007a), Walczak, Baraniak & Jerzak (2010a).

Last modified 31.iii.2023