Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Prays oleae

Prays oleae (Bernard, 1788)

small olive ermel

on Olea

Prays oleae: vacated mine on Phillyrea angustifolia

Phillyrea angustifolia, France, Corse, Paslasca © Stéphane Claerebout

Prays oleae: vacated mine on Phillyrea angustifolia

mine, lighted from behind

Prays oleae mine

Olea europaea, Greece, Lesbos, Agiásos



Initially the larva makes an upper-surface, short, narrow corridor. Later, in early spring, it may abandon this mine and make elsewhere on the leaf an irregular full depth blotch, or it may continue the corridor into a blotch. Most frass is ejected through a hole in the mine; part of it is captured in spinning at the leaf underside. In the end the larva lives free under the leaf, causing window feeding.

host plants

Oleaceae, oligophagous

Olea europaea; Phillyrea.


Mining larvae from autumn till early in the following spring. There are two more larvae generations, one feeding on the flowers, the second on the developing fruits.


Not known from the Benelux countries (Fauna Europaea, 2009).

distribution within Europe

Mediterranean Region (Fauna Europaea, 2009).


Described by Amsel & Hering (1931a).


Prays oleella (Fabricius, 1794.


A very serious pest, in particular because of the damage to the flowers and fruits.
An adult that was captured in Britain (Langmaid & Young, 2009a) perhaps indicates that the species has established itself on ornamental olive trees.


Amsel & Hering (1931a), Athanasíou & Zárpas (0000a), Buhr (1930a, 1941a), Hering (1932e, 1934d, 1936b, 1957a, 1967a), Klimesch (1942a), Klimesch & Skala (1936a), Langmaid & Young (2009a), Maček (1999a), Vegliante & Zilli (2007a), Žikić, Ritt, Colacci, ao (2019a).

Last modified 22.vii.2021