Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Trifurcula cryptella

Trifurcula cryptella (Stainton, 1856)

wood lotus pigmy

Trifurcula cryptella: mines on Lotus corniculatus

Lotus corniculatus, Belgium, prov. Limbourg, Gellik © Steve Wullaert

Trifurcula cryptella: cocoon

cocoon – pupation is external

Trifurcula cryptella mine on Coronilla varia

Coronilla varia, France, dép. Savoie; from van Nieukerken (2007b)

Trifurcula cryptella mine on Lotus corniculatus

Lotus corniculatus, Losser; ex coll. Sjaak Koster


Oviposition at the leaf underside. The mine begins as a long corridor with a very broad, green frass line. This corridor suddenly widens into a broad blotch, that in the end may occupy almost an entire leaflet. The blotch generally begins in the leaf base, and it is here that most frass is concentrated. Shortly before pupation the larva leaves its mine through an exit slit in the lower epidermis. After the mine has been vacated the leaflet drops off. Most mines in the terminal leaflet Compton (1981a).

host plants

Fabaceae, oligophagous

Anthyllis montana; Coronilla coronata; Hippocrepis comosa, emerus & subsp. emeroides; Lotus corniculatus, hispidus, pedunculatus; Securigera varia.

Moreover Dorycnium and Trifolium are mentioned (Hering, 1957a; Szőcs, 1977a) but this is not confirmed by van Nieukerken (2007b).


Most larvae in July, but they may be found as late as October (Johansson ao, 1990a).


BE recorded (Wullaert (2015a).

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

LUX not recorded (Fauna Europaea, 2009).

distribution within Europe

From Scandinavia to the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, and Greece, and from Ireland to Poland and Bulgaria (Fauna Europaea, 2009).


The larva is pale yellow, looks green in the mine; it lies dorsum upwards. The larva is described by Johansson ao (1990a); thorax dorsally with 13, 11, and 9 pairs of setae per segment, respectively.


Nepticula, Stigmella, Levarchama cryptella.

parasitoids, predators

Hemiptarsenus ornatus.


In the Netherlands a species of chalk grasslands (Kuchlein ao, 1988a), but Johansson ea (1990a) write that in Scandinavia the preferred hostplants are growing between high grass in forest landscapes.

A possible additional difference with T. eurema could be the colour of the frass: black in cryptella, brown in eurema (Emmet, 1983a). If this distinction is constant still has to be sorted out. [Hering (1967a) describes the frass as black in both species.]

John Langmaid (UK) found that about 20% of the specimens pupated within the mine. Perhaps this concerned parasitised larvae, displaying abnormal behaviour.


Beiger (1980a), Bengtsson (2008a), Borkowski (1969a), Compton (1981a), Emmet (1983), Gustafsson (1985a), Hartig (1939a), Hering (1957a, 1960a, 1967a), Huemer (2005a), Johansson ao (1990a), Klimesch (1936a, 1940a, 1942a, 1950c, 1951a, 1956c, 1958c, 1975a), Kuchlein & Donner (1993a), Kuchlein & de Vos (1999a), Kuchlein ao (1988a), Kurz (2016a), A Laštuvka & A Laštuvka (1997a, 2014a), van Nieukerken (1982a, 1986a, 2007b), van Nieukerken, Biesenbaum & Wittland (2010a), van Nieukerken, Gielis, Huisman ao (1993a), van Nieukerken, Laštuvka & Laštuvka (2004a, 2006a), Parenti & Varalda (2000a), Robbins (1991a), Skala (1939a), Steuer (1988a, 1995a), Szőcs (1977a, 1981a), Walczak (2011a), Wullaert (2015a).

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