Willows serve as hosts for many leaf-mining moths (Lepidoptera), sawflies (Hymenoptera), flies (Diptera), and beetles (Coleoptera). The miner species can usually be identified on the basis of the shape and location of the mine, although closer inspection of the larva is sometimes needed for reliable identification. Below are a few examples, click here or here to go to sites with more willow-associated leaf miners.

Leaf-mining moths (Lepidoptera)

Lepidopteran leaf miners on willows represent many different moth families. Below is just one example.

Stigmella salicis

(Lepidoptera: Nepticulidae)

A small leaf-mining moth which prefers willow species with hairy and rough leaves.


Mine and larva of Stigmella salicis on Salix cinerea.


Sawfly leaf miners (Hymenoptera: Symphyta)

Finnish leaf-mining sawflies on willows belong to the tenthredinid genera Heterarthrus and Fenusella, in Central Europe also a third genus (Scolioneura) includes willow-associated species. Click here to go to the page on leaf-mining sawflies, which also contains links to sites with other leaf miners.

Heterarthrus microcephalus

(Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae)

This common species occurs on many willow species. The mines are located close to the tips of the leaves, and the larvae remove frass from the mines.


Heterarthrus microcephalus on Salix phylicifolia.

Heterarthrus microcephalus on Salix pentandra.

Fenusella septentrionalis

(Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae)

This species occurs on Salix lapponum in northern Finland. The mine is situated on the side of the leaf, and frass remains inside the mine.


Fenusella septentrionalis on Salix lapponum.


Leaf-mining beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

The hyperdiverse beetle family Curculionidae contains a few willow-associated leaf miners that belong to the genera Tachyerges, Isochnus, and Rhamphus.

Tachyerges sp.

(Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Beetles in the the curculionid genus Tachyerges make mines in the tips of willow leaves. The species occur on many different willow species, and the leaves can become twisted or contorted as a result of the mine.


Mine of a Tachyerges species on Salix caprea.

Tachyerges larva dug out of the mine. Note the yellow colour, dark head, and lack of visible legs.

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