Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Lyonetia clerkella

Lyonetia clerkella (Linnaeus, 1758)

apple leaf-miner


Prunus avium, Germany, Badenweiler


detail: larva chamber


Betula pendula, Hilversum: vacated larva chamber

Lyonetia clerkella: mines on Crataegus monogyna

Crataegus monogyna, Zwijdrecht © Kris Peeters-Heyman

Lyonetia clerkella: mine on Amelanchier lamarckii

Amelanchier lamarckii, Zwijndrecht © Kris Peeters-Heyman: because the leaf of Amelanchier is so thin, it is not attractive as a host plant.


Prunus cerasus, Belgium: Berchem © Chris Snyers: cocoon in its “hammock”


Sorbus spec., Amsterdam: oviposition scar

Lyonetia clerkella: old vacated mine on Prunus serotina

Prunus serotina, lg Welna, 18.vii.2018 © Hans Jonkman. Old, vacated mine; unusual: generally the larva dies prematurely on this host plant.

Lyonetia clerkella: vacated mine on Prunus laurocerasus

Prunus laurocerasus, Berg en Dal, 13.viii.2018 © Ben van As: vacated mine, the larva has successfully completed its development. One wonders if the larva had an unusually strong resilience towards cyanide, or did the plant produce unusually little cyanide?


Oviposition is by means of an ovipositor; what remains is a small scar: no egg shell is visible at the start of the mine. From here a long, sometimes very long, slender, full depth corridor winds through the leaf, not steered by leaf margin or the leaf venation. The midrib is crossed effortless; the corridor frequently also crosses itself; the section of the leaf cut off then usUally turns brown and dies off. Frass in a narrow central line. The larva vacates the mine prior to pupation through an exit in the upper epidermis. Pupation takes place in a cocoon that hangs in a ‘hammock’ in a fold of the leaf.

The larva is unusually slender. This makes that the vacated larval chamber is proportionally much longer than in the case of Stigmella mines (> 3 x longer than broad).

host plants

Betulaceae, Rosaceae, narrowly polyphagous

Amelanchier lamarckii; Betula pendula, pubescens; Chaenomeles japonica; Cotoneaster glaucophyllus, integerrimus, salicifolius; Crataegus coccinea, crus-galli, laevigata, mollis, monogyna; Cydonia oblonga; Malus baccata, domestica, fusca, sylvestris; Mespilus germanica; Prunus armeniaca, avium, cerasifera, cerasus, domestica & subsp. insititia, glandulosa, laurocerasus, mahaleb, mume, padus, pensylvanica, persica, “pseudocerasus”, serotina, serrulata, spinosa, subhirtella, triloba; Pyracantha coccinea; Pyrus communis; Sorbus aria, aucuparia, domestica, intermedia.

Mines on Prunus serotina are usually, and those on P. laurocrasus practically always abortive.

Possibly in part because of its abundance there are quite some references to xenophagy: Humulus lupulus and Salix caprea, fragilis (Klimesch, 1957a; Huber, 1969a; Borkowski, 2003a); Castanea sativa and Ribes (Hering, 1957a); Quercus (Robbins, 1991a); Rhamnus catharticus (Ellis, 2001a).


Mines are found from May till november.


BE observed (Phegea, 2007).

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

LUX recorded (Ellis).

distribution within Europe

All of Europe (Fauna Europaea, 2007).



Described by Patočka (1997a, 2000a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a).

parasitoids, predators

Closterocerus lyonetiae; Sympiesis gordius, sericeicornis.


Usually very common, but the numbers may fluctuate strongly from year to year. Sometimes a pest on fruit crops.

Contrary to most Lepidoptera miners, in clerkella the frass does not stick to ceiling or floor of the mine, but is distributed as loose granules in the gallery.


Ahr (1966a), Amsel & Hering (1931a, 1933a), Askew, Blasco-Zumeta & Pujade-Villar (2001a), Baggiolini (1960a), Baldizzone (2004a), Baryshnikova (2007a), Beiger (1979a), Bengtsson & Johansson (2011a), Borkowski (2003a), Bouček (1959a), Buhr (1935a,b, 1936a, 1937a, 1964a), Buszko (1981a, 1992b), Buszko & Beshkov (2004a), Diškus & Stonis (2012a), Drăghia (1972a), van Frankenhuyzen (1969a), van Frankenhuyzen & Houtman (1972a), van Frankenhuyzen Houtman & Kabos (1982a), Haase (1942a), Hartig (1939a), Hering (1921a, 1926b, 1927b, 1957a, 1961a), Huber (1969a), Huemer (1988a, 2012a), Huemer & Erlebach (2003a), Kasy (1983a, 1987a), Klimesch (1950c, 1957a, 1958c), Klimesch & Skala (1936b), Kollár (2007a), Kollár & Hrubík (2009a), Kuchlein & Donner (1993a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), ME & MA Kurz (2007a), Kvičala (1938a), Leutsch (2011a), Lhomme (1934b,c), Maček (1999a), Matošević, Pernek, Dubravac & Barić (2009a), Meijer, Smit, Beukeboom & Schilthuizen (2012a), Michna (1975a), Nowakowski (1954a), Olivella (2002a), Patočka (1997a, 2000a), Patočka & Turčáni (2005a), Quantz (1927a), Robbins (1991a), Schmid (2019a), Sefrová (2005a), Seven (2006a), Skala (1941a, 1951a), Skala & Zavřel (1945a), Stammer (2016a), Starý (1930a), Sønderup (1949a), Szőcs (1977a, 1978a, 1981a), Thomann (1956a), Wegner (2010a).

Last modified 30.v.2022