Line Line
Apple Leaf Miner Lyonetia clerkella

The Apple Leaf Miner is a very small moth, for the entire wingspan is 7 to 9 mm only. It is a white moth with variable brown markings at the wing tips, hardly visible in our only photograph of this species. It belongs to a small family of moths, in American English called the Lyonet Moths. Apparently it has no common name in British English. All the moths in this family are leaf miners or bark miners.

The females have an ovipositor which is used to lay the eggs inside a leaf. The larva lives inside a mine within the leaf its entire life. Fullgrown it leaves the mine and pupates on the leaf under a silk cover. The mine is very distinct: it is very long, narrow and in the centre is a black trail of the frass. The Apple Leaf Miner has three generations in one year and thus is on the wing for a long time: from April to the end of October. The adults of the third generation overwinter. There is a very long list of host plants. Included are amongst others: apple (Malus), cherries and prunes (Prunus), rowan (Sorbus) and hawthorn (Crataegus).

This is a very common species throughout the British Isles and Ireland. It is even found above the polar circle in Finland. The abundancy of this species is very variable though. In some years they seem to be almost gone, appearing in great numbers next year.