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Volume 81, 1953
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Occurrence of the Oak Blotch Miner Lithocolletis messaniella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in New Zealand

Plant Diseases Division, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Auckland.

[Read before the Auckland Institute, May 26, 1952; received by the Editor, May 27, 1952.]


The genus Lithocolletis Huebner and the species L. messaniella Zeller are described and recorded from New Zealand for the first time.

In February, 1951, leaves of oak (Quercus robur L.) with blotch mines on the underside (Fig. 1) were collected at Gisborne by Mr. J. D. Kennedy, of the Department of Agriculture. Later, mined leaves were collected from oak and also from chestnut (Castanea sativa Will.) by Mr. R. E. Robbins, of the Havelock North Research Orchard. A small moth was reared from these blotch mines and identified as Lithocolletis messaniella Zeller.

Genus Lithocolletis Huebner, 1825
Verz. bekannt. Schmett. (27) 423.

Genotype: L. rajella (Linnaeus) 1758.

Head: Roughly tufted on crown, face smooth. Antennae: Almost as long as forewings. Labial palpi: Short or moderate, porrected or drooping, filiform, pointed. Maxillary palpi: Minute or rudimentary. Posterior tibiae: With appressed hairs. Forewings: Elongate. Veins 3, 4, 6, 8, 11 absent. Hindwings: Linear-lanceolate or linear. Width half that of forewings. Veins 3, 4, 6 absent. Cilia 4–5 times as long as width of hindwings. Larvae: Leaf-miners; pupae within mines. A genus of about 250 species almost confined to North America and Europe, but with some species in India and Australia.

Lithocolletis is distinguishable from the known New Zealand genera of the Gracillariidae by the appressed scales (not bristles as in Acrocercops Wall.) on posterior tibiae, and by the rough-crowned head (not smooth-crowned as in Parectopa Clem. and Gracillaria Haw.).

L. messaniella Zeller, 1846.

Linnaea Entomologica 1. 221.

Forewings: (Fig. 2.) Expansion 8 mm. Light golden-ochreous. Basal streak paler, dark-margined, terminating before middle. Four costal and three dorsal whitish streaks; the first costal and dorsal dark-margined on both sides, the remainder dark-margined anteriorly only. First dorsal streak very long, reaching between apices of second costal and dorsal. Pale dorsal spot near base lightly margined anteriorly. Black sub-marginal line at apex. Apical dot black. Hindwings: Grey.

Host Plants: In other countries L. messamella Zell. has been reared from Quercus ilex L., Q. robur L., Carpinus betulus L., Castanea sativa Will., and Ilex sp. In addition to these hosts Waters 1925 recorded L. messamella Zell. from

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Fig. 2.—Forewing of Lithocolletis messamella Zell. (mag. × 42) showing characteristic dark markings. Cilia (portion a.) before apical sub-marginal line the same colour as remainder of wing; tips of apical cilia and cilia of dorsal tuft (portion b.) paler than ground colour of wing.

“Q. turneri” (?) but there is doubt regarding the specific identification of this oak.

Distribution: L. messamella Zell. has previously been recorded from Britain, Ireland, Central and Southern Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa.


The author is indebted to Dr. T. H. C. Taylor, Commonwealth Institute of Entomology, London, for identification of specimens.


Meyrick, E., 1928. A Revised Handbook of British Lepidoptera, 914 pp., Watkins & Doneaster, London.

Morley, C., 1936. Notes on Bracomdae XV Microgasterinae. Entomologist, 69: 115–119.

Stainton, H. T., 1837. Natural History of the Tineina, 2, 317 pp. J. V. Voorst, London.

Waters, E. G. R., 1923. Tineina in the Oxford District (VI Gracilarndae). Ent. Mon. Mag. 61: 188–196.

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Fig. 1.—Blotch mines of Lithocolletis messaniella Zell. in oak leaves Mag. × 9/10.