Holm oak leaf-mining moths
Holm oaks (Quercus ilex) are affected by several leaf mining insects. The most frequently seen are two species of moth; Holm oak blotch leaf-miner (Phyllonorycter messaniella) and Holm oak linear leaf-miner (Ectoedemia heringella).
Scientific names: Phyllonorycter messaniella and Ectoedemia heringella
Plants affected: Holm oak (Quercus ilex)
Main symptoms: Brownish white blotches or wiggly linear mines in the foliage
Most active: All year
What are holm oak leaf-mining moths?
Nearly 900 insects, including some flies, beetles moths and sawflies create leaf mines as larvae more information about some for these insects can be found at The leaf and stem mines of British flies and other insects
- Holm oak blotch leaf-miner (Phyllonorycter messaniella) causes pale brown, elongate oval discoloured areas on the upper leaf surface where caterpillars have eaten out the internal leaf tissues. The underside of these mines is whitish brown.
- Holm oak linear leaf-miner (Ectoedemia heringella), causes brown linear mines that end in a blotch. This is mainly in south-eastern England, where it was first discovered in 2002, but is becoming more widespread. It may now be the more common of the two species of holm oak leaf mining moth
- The presence of the mines is usually most obvious in spring, until the old leaves drop in early summer
There is no control available for holm oak leaf-miners, although there are several predators and parasites that can limit populations. In some areas birds such as blue tits have learnt to open the mines to feed on the caterpillar within.
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