- Subfamily: Lithocolletinae
- Wingspan: 08-10 mm
- Flight period: Apr - Oct
- Spread: Common
- Host plants: Platanaceae
The Phyllonorycter platani is a small moth of the Gracillariidae family, subfamily Lithocolletinae, with a wingspan of 08-10 mm.
In Europe it is present almost everywhere, it is absent from Ireland, Norway, Finland, Slovenia, Croatia, the Baltic countries, Belarus and Russia. *
In Italy it is also present in the islands. *
Its range extends also in the eastern Palearctic zone, as well as in California in the United States.
The adults of Phyllonorycter platani have a honey or ocher honey color with metallic reflections. The fore wings show longitudinal bands, more or less transverse and dirty white or ash gray spots, with metallic reflections, edged with dark, edge that is repeated in a spot on the corner and distal margin, in addition a hazelnut gray fringe is differentiated.
The hind wings are very light ocher, washed out, and fringed like the front ones.
On the head there is a tuft of hair of the same background color of the front wings, as the same head and the thorax, on which three streaks are visible white with metallic reflections, the abdomen has a slightly darker shade than the background color of the wings. **
It overwinters at the chrysalis stage in the leaf litter inside a cocoon built within the pticonomy (mines in which the upper edge of the leaf appears arched while the lower epidermis is raised and wrinkled).
Polyvoltine the adults of this moth are visible in a number of generations that varies from two to four in the period from April to October depending on the latitude.
The first flight adults, those that flicker from the wintering pupae, occur in April, the females after mating lay their eggs on the underside of the leaf leaning against the bifurcations of the veins, generally the secondary ones. ***
The Larvae have a flat body, with a missing thorax of the legs that can be replaced by pseudopodia.
The mine begins as an epidermal corridor, sometimes several cm long. This widens into a shallow, greyish green, irregularly lobed spot.
The fully developed mine is a brown or orange tent-shaped mine with a number of folds along its length. Almost all mines are on the lower surface of the leaf. The upper side of the mine is a mottled oval, because the larva has eaten here and there creating holes in the roof of the mine, i.e. the parenchyma of the leaf. ****
The pupation takes place inside the mine. The chrysalis at the end of its development perforates, with its pointed anterior part (mucrone) , the cocoon and the lower wall of the mine to protrude and allow the moth to escape. When it flickers, what remains of the chrysalis protrudes from the mine. ***
The larvae feed on Platanaceae in particular Platanus x hispanica.
* Lepidoptera mundi https://lepidoptera.eu/ - Fauna Europea https://fauna-eu.org/
** Bestimmungshilfe für die in Europa nachgewiesenen Schmetterlingsarten - http://lepiforum.de/
*** Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Belgium - https://projects.biodiversity.be/lepidoptera/
**** Plant Parasites of Europe leafminers, galls and fungi - https://bladmineerders.nl/