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Stigmella malella (Stainton)
Nepticula malella

Insecta, Lepidoptera, Stigmellidae .

Wild crab leaf miner, Apple pygmy moth

Description, Biology, Life Cycle, Damage, Common Names, Images

- Adult: 4 mm wingspan. Black wings with a silvery band on the fore wings (*) .

- Host plant: apple.
- Egg: deposited on the underside of the leaves (*) .
- Larva: tiny, it lives inside the leaf lamina and forms elongated and sinuous gallery terminating in a broade blotch which can reach 3 to 4 mm (*) . The frass is deposited inside the gallery to form a thin black thread. The fully grown larva leaves the leaf, pupates in the ground and hibernates (*) .

[R]Life Cycle
- 3 generations, 4 in Mediterranean countries.
- The moths appear between mid-March and the end of May. The second flight occurs at intervals throughout June and the third from end of July to the beginning of September.

The damage is generally minor unless there is a massive infestation. In this case, the numerous galleries which travel through the leaf impede photosynthesis and cause its drying up (*) . The leaf turns brown and falls prematurely which endangers the harvest and the physiological balance of the tree (*) .

[R]Common Names
DE: Apfelminiermotte ES: Minadora de hojas del manzano FR: Mineuse des feuilles du pommier IT: Nepticola del melo PT: Lagarta mineira das folhas da macieira GB: Wild crab leaf miner, Aple pigmy moth

[R] Images

  1. Stigmella malella (Stainton) Moth sous une feuille de Pommier. (Coutin R. / OPIE)
  2. Stigmella malella (Stainton) Moth under an apple leaf Note the galleries which are enlarged rapidly.
  3. Stigmella malella (Stainton) Cocoons on the ground (Coutin R. / OPIE)
  4. Stigmella malella (Stainton) Eggs Deposited on the underside of an apple leaf.
  5. Stigmella malella (Stainton) Severely attacked apple tree (Coutin R. / OPIE)
  6. Stigmella malella (Stainton) Larva in an apple leaf The gallery has been opened to show the larva.

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