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


Phytomyza aquilegiae Hardy, 1849
[Diptera: Agromyzidae]

Columbine leaf miner

Phytomyza aquilegiae Hardy, 1849a. Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (2) 4(24): 392
Phytomyza aquilegiae Hardy, 1849a; Hendel, 1934. Fliegen palaearkt. Reg. 6(2): 348
Phytomyza aquilegiae Hardy, 1849a; Spencer, 1972b. Handbk ident. Br. Ins. 10(5g): 10, 71, 82, 83 (fig. 268), 118
Phytomyza aquilegiae Hardy, 1849a; Spencer, 1976. Fauna ent. Scand. 5 (1): 380-1, figs 661-663A, 902B
Phytomyza aquilegiae Hardy, 1849a; Spencer, 1990. Host specialization in the World Agromyzidae (Diptera): 22, 43, 46 (figs 171-2), 50
Phytomyza aquilegiae Hardy, 1849a; Bland, 2000. Dipterists Digest 7: 11.

Leaf-miner: Larva forming a large primary blotch, sometimes several larvae feeding together with frass scattered irregularly throughout the mine; leaves often being largely destroyed and the plants suffering considerable damage (Spencer, 1976: 380, 381 (fig. 663A)).

Striking, large, somewhat inflated, upper-surface, often purple-brown blotch without a preceding corridor. The mine is unusual because locally also the spongy mesophyl is eaten away, making the mine locally full depth and giving it a mottled appearance (right picture below). The mine begins in the centre of the leaf, or the base of a leaf segment (Griffiths, 1956b). The very first part of the mine differs in colour and structure; probably it is made by the larvae before its first ecdysis. Frass in very fine grains scattered over the floor of the mine. Pupation outside the mine. Exit slit in upper epidermis (Pakalniskis, 2004a) - see Bladmineerders van Europa.

A large blotch is formed, sometimes by several larvae, on the upper surface of the leaf. Frass is found scattered throughout the mine (British leafminers).

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 larva is described by 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).

Dull brown, deeply segmented; posterior spiracles each with an ellipse of up to 20 bulbs (Spencer, 1976: 380).

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Aquilegia       Mines in BMNH
Aquilegia       Robbins, 1991: 28
Aquilegia       British leafminers
Aquilegia vulgaris Columbine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1972b: 118
Thalictrum aquilegifolium French Meadow-rue   British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Aegopodium podagraria Ground-elder British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Angelica sylvestris Wild Angelica British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Aquilegia       Spencer, 1990: 22
Aquilegia atrata     Bladmineerders van Europa
Aquilegia flabellata     Bladmineerders van Europa
Aquilegia vulgaris Columbine British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Thalictrum       Spencer, 1990: 22
Thalictrum aquilegifolium French Meadow-rue   Spencer, 1976: 380
Thalictrum aquilegifolium French Meadow-rue   Bladmineerders van Europa
Thalictrum flavum Common Meadow-rue British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Thalictrum lucidum Shining Meadow-rue   Bladmineerders van Europa
Thalictrum minus Lesser Meadow-rue British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - mines: June-September.

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Common in south particularly in gardens (Spencer, 1972b: 82) including Warwickshire (Coventry) (Robbins, 1991: 28); Anglesey, Caernarvonshire, East Ross, East Suffolk, Easterness, Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Merionethshire, North Somerset, Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, South Essex, South Lancashire, South-west Yorkshire, Surrey and West Gloucestershire (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded on Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris), 12 June 1985 at Castlecurragh, Co. Limerick, Ireland (H.C.J. Godfray).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Denmark, Finland, Norway (Spencer, 1976: 380), Belgium (de Bruyn and von Tschirnhaus, 1991), The Netherlands (Bladmineerders van Europa), Czech Republic, French mainland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland (Fauna Europaea).

Range extending eastwards to the Kirghiz and Kazakh Republics of the [former] U.S.S.R. (Spencer, 1976: 380).

References to aquilegiae in North America have all proven inaccurate (Spencer, 1976: 380).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Aegopodium podagraria, Angelica sylvestris, Aquilegia vulgaris, Thalictrum aquilegiifolium, Thalictrum flavum, Thalictrum lucidum, Thalictrum minus

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Chrysocharis amyite (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis orbicularis (Nees, 1834) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis pentheus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Neochrysocharis formosus (Westwood, 1833) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Dacnusa aquilegiae Marshall, 1896 Braconidae: Alysiinae
Phaedrotoma staryi Fischer, 1958 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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