Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Stigmella desperatella

Stigmella desperatella (Frey, 1856)

scarce apple pigmy

Stigmella desperatella mines

Malus domestica, Austria, (Kärnten) Pörtschach, 5 km W Völkermark;leg JJ Boomsma & EJ van Nieukerken


Egg either at upper side or underside of the leaf. The mine begins as a narrow gallery, often following a vein or the leaf margin. Later sections of the corridor are much wider and contorted, mostly forming a secondary blotch. Frass in an extremely narrow central line, sometimes a bit broader towards then end of the mine. Often several mines in a leaf.

host plants

woody Rosaceae, oligophagous

Malus baccata, domestica, sylvestris; Pyrus communis.


Larvae in late summer (Emmet, 1983a).


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

distribution within Europe

From Estonia to the Pyrenees, Italy, and Bulgaria, and from Britain to the Ukraine (Fauna Europaea, 2009).


The larva is green; this distinguishes the species from St. malella, that also lives on apple, but has a yellow larva.

Also St. magdalenae may be found op apple, and this species has green larvae. The only reliable difference is that the larva of magdalenae has a field of fine spinules on abdomen 9, that is lacking in desperatella (Emmet, 1983a; Gustafsson & van Nieukerken, 1990a).


Nepticula desperatella; N. pyricola Wocke, 1877.


Anisimovas, Diškus & Stonis (2006a), Beiger (1979a), Borkowski (1969a), Buszko & Baraniak (1989a), Černý (2001a), Corley, Rosete, Gonçalves ao (2016a), Diškus & Stonis (2012a), Gustafsson (1985a), Gustafsson & van Nieukerken (1990a), Haase (1942a), Hartig (1939a), Hering (1932g, 1957a), Huemer (1985a, 1988a), Johansson ao (1990a), Klimesch (1936a, 1950c, 1958c), Klimesch & Skala (1936c), Kurz (2016a), Navickaitė, Diškus & Stonis (2014), van Nieukerken (1986a), van Nieukerken, A & Z Laštuvka (2006a), Nowakowski (1954a), Schoorl ao (1985a), Schütze (1931a), Sefrová (2005a), Skala (1939a, 1951a), Skala & Zavřel (1945a), Sobczyk & van Nieukerken (2021a), Szőcs (1977a, 1978a, 1981a).

Last modified 10.i.2022