The leaf and stem mines of British flies and other insects

(Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera)

by Brian Pitkin, Willem Ellis, Colin Plant and Rob Edmunds

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Agromyza phragmitidis Hendel, 1922
[Diptera: Agromyzidae]

Agromyza phragmitidis Hendel, 1922. Wien. ent. Ztg. 39: 65
Agromyza phragmitidis Hendel, 1922; Hendel, 1931. Fliegen palaearkt. Reg. 6(2): 143
Agromyza phragmitidis Hendel, 1922; Griffiths, 1963b. Tijdschr. Ent. 106: 143
Agromyza phragmitidis Hendel, 1922; Spencer, 1972b. Handbk ident. Br. Ins. 10(5g): 38, 124
Agromyza phragmitidis Hendel, 1922; Spencer, 1976. Fauna ent. Scand. 5(1): 131-2, fig. 229
Agromyza phragmitidis Hendel, 1922; Spencer, 1990. Host specialization in the world Agromyzidae (Diptera) : 356, 359.

Leaf-mine: Several eggs are normally laid together side by side at the tip of the leaf, the young larvae feeding first towards the apex of the leaf and then forming a large communal blotch running down the leaf. Pupation normally external, frequently adhering to the leaf (Spencer, 1976: 132).

A number of eggs are deposited in a transverse row, not far from the leaf margin. The larvae that emerge start to make an individual corridor in the direction of the leaf tip. The corridors quickly widen and merge into one communal, upper-surface, mine. Frass powdery. Pupation as a rule outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Larva: The larvae of flies are leg-less maggots without a head capsule (see examples). They never have thoracic or abdominal legs. They do not have chewing mouthparts, although they do have a characteristic cephalo-pharyngeal skeleton (see examples), usually visible internally through the body wall.

The somewhat greenish larva is described by Griffiths (1963), de Meijere (1925) and illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Puparium: The puparia of flies are formed within the hardened last larval skin or puparium and as a result sheaths enclosing head appendages, wings and legs are not visible externally (see examples).

The puparium is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa. It varies in colour from black to almost yellow; posterior spiracular processes separated by their own diameter, each with 3 bulbs (Spencer, 1976: 132).

Agromyza phragmitidis puparium
Agromyza phragmitidis puparium
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland:

Phragmites       Robbins, 1991: 141
Phragmites australis Common Reed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Mines in BMNH
Phragmites australis Common Reed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1972b: 124

Hosts elsewhere:

Phragmites       Spencer, 1990: 356
Phragmites australis Common Reed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1976: 132
Phragmites australis Common Reed British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - mines: August-September.

Time of year - adults: April-August the following year.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Widespread in Britain (Spencer, 1972b: 38) including Huntingdonshire and Oxford (Robbins, 1991: 141), East Perth (Ardblair Moss), Haddington (Luffness) (Bland, 1994c: 81) and Cambridgeshire, East Cornwall, East Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Martinez in Fauna Europaea).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland (Spencer, 1976: 132), The Netherlands (Bladmineerders van Europa), Belgium (Scheirs and de Bruyn, 1992), Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia (Martinez in Fauna Europaea).

Also recorded in Japan (Spencer, 1990).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Phragmites australis

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chorebus coxator (Thomson, 1895) Braconidae: Alysiinae
Chorebus nydia (Nixon, 1937) Braconidae: Alysiinae
Chorebus pione (Nixon, 1944) Braconidae: Alysiinae
Chorebus spenceri Griffiths, 1964 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Opius ochrogaster Wesmael, 1835 Braconidae: Opiinae
Phaedrotoma rex (Fischer, 1958) Braconidae: Opiinae
Phaedrotoma variegata (Szépligeti, 1896) Braconidae: Opiinae
Eurytenes polyzonius Wesmael, 1835 Braconidae: Opiinae

External links: Search the internet:
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
NHM UK Checklist
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