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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ARRHENATHERUM. False Oat-grass. [Poaceae]


One species of Arrhenatherum, False Oat-grass Arrhenatherum elatius), is recorded in Britain. The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for Arrhenatherum.

Twenty-two British miners are recorded on Arrhenatherum.

The gelchiid Helcystogramma rufescens spins grass blades and feeds inside the spiral spinning, causing whitening of the grass blade tip.

A key to the European miners recorded on Arrhenatherum is provided in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Nearly 100 British miners or possible miners are recorded on grasses in Britain.

It is recommended that adults of all miners on grasses be reared to be certain of their identity.



Key for the identification of the known mines of British
Diptera recorded on Arrhenatherum


Note: Diptera larvae may live in a corridor mine, a corridor-blotch mine, or a blotch mine, but never in a case, a rolled or folded leaf, a tentiform mine or sandwiched between two more or less circular leaf sections in later instars. Pupation never in a cocoon. All mining Diptera larvae 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 larvae lie on their sides within the mine and use their pick-like mouthparts to feed on plant tissue. In some corridor miners frass may lie in two rows on alternate sides of the mine. In order to vacate the mine the fully grown larva cuts an exit slit, which is usually semi-circular (see Liriomyza huidobrensis video). The pupa is 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).

See Key to non-Diptera.


1# > ? Leaf-miner: Details of mine unknown (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation external (Spencer, 1972b: 52). Pupation external.

On Arrhenatherum, Dactylis and Holcus, in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread in England and continental Europe.

Liriomyza phryne Hendel, 1931 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1a > Leaf-miner: Pupation internal.

2

1b > Leaf-miner: Pupation external.

3

2a > Leaf-miner: Long, narrow, whitish mine. Pupation internal (Spencer, 1976: 453); anterior spiracles projecting through the epidermis.

Whitish, upper-surface, rather narrow corridor with comparatively large frass grains that are laying further apart than their diameter. Pupation within the mine. The anterior spiracles of the orange-brown puparium penetrate the epidermis (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Chromatomyia nigra larva,  lateral
Chromatomyia nigra larva, lateral
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)
Orchestes fagi larva,  dorsal
Chromatomyia nigra pupa, lateral
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Polyphagous. On numerous genera of grasses, including Arrhenatherum, Avenula and Brachypodium in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread and common throughout British Isles and much of Europe. Also recorded in Canada, western U.S.A. and Japan.

Chromatomyia nigra (Meigen, 1830) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

2b > Leaf-miner: Narrow whitish mine, with frass in distinct black lumps. Pupation internal (Spencer, 1976: 422).

Whitish, upper-surface, descending corridor, about halfway up the blade. Frass in distinct black grains that are lying further apart than their diameter. Pupation in the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Arrhenatherum, Holcus, Milium and Phleum in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Recorded in Scotland and Widespread in continental Europe. Also recorded in Canada.

Chromatomyia fuscula (Zetterstedt, 1838) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

2c > Leaf-miner: Irregular mine, locally shallow, elsewhere much deeper, giving it a mottled appearance. In broadleaved plants the mine often begins as a blotch with stellate extensions, but sometimes as a very fine, shallow corridor. In grasses the mine often begins in the leaf sheath. The frass is very fine-grained, initially scattered, later in aggregates. The egg is deposited on the plant surface, and the empty egg shell remains visible. But the larvae are able to leave their mine and restart elsewhere, thus mines without an egg shell can be found as well. The larva also leaves the mine before pupation. Pupation takes place in a newly made, small, blotch mine without frass; this mine may be made in another plant (species) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Hydrellia griseola on Glyceria fluitans. Image: © Willem Ellis (Source: Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mine of Hydrellia griseola on Glyceria fluitans
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Polyphagpus. On ? Alisma, ? Damasonium, ? Sagittaria, ? Bellis, ? Rorippa, Tropaeolum, ? Lychnis, ? Stellaria, ? Carex, ? Cyperus, ? Scirpus, ? Hydrocharis, ? Stratiotes, ? Lamium, ? Lemna, ? Allium, Arrhenatherum, ? Polygonum, ? Potamogeton, ? Veronica, ? Typha in Britain.

On ? Alisma, ? Damasonium, ? Sagittaria, ? Bellis, ? Rorippa, Tropaeolum, Lychnis, ? Stellaria, Carex, ? Scirpus, Trifolium, ? Hydrocharis, Lamium, ? Lemna, Allium, Papaver, Agrostis, Alopecurus, Apera, Arrhenatherum, Avena, Avenula, Brachypodium, Briza, Bromus, Calamagrostis, Dactylis, Desmazeria, Digitaria, Echinochloa, Eleusine, Elymus, Festuca, Gaudinia, Glyceria, Holcus, Hordeum, Lagurus, Lolium, Panicum, Phalaris, Phleum, Phragmites, Poa, Secale, Setaria, Triticum, ? Polygonum, ? Potamogeton, Veronica, ? Typha and Verbena elsewhere. Widespread in England. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in the Palaearctic region. Also recorded from Nearctic and Australasian Regions.

Hydrellia griseola (Fallén, 1813) [Diptera: Ephydridae].

2d > Leaf-miner: Larvae feed singly, forming an upper surface linear-blotch mine. Pupation either internal or external, with the puparium loosely glued to the leaf (Spencer, 1976: 91).

Oviposition near the leaf margin, at some distance from the leaf tip. From there develops an upper-surface corridor-blotch. At first the mine ascends as a narrow corridor towards the leaf tip, then the direction turns and the mine, steadily widening, descends in the direction of the leaf base. Frass irregular, in rather coarse grains. Larva solitary. Pupation mostly outside the mine; in that case the puparium often sticks to the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Agromyza albipennis on Phalaris arundinacea. Image: © Willem Ellis (Source: Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mine of Agromyza albipennis on Phalaris arundinacea
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Arrhenatherum, Brachypodium, Bromus, Dactylis, Glyceria, Holcus, Hordeum, Milium, Phalaris and Poa in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread and common in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Very common in western Europe and recorded in Canada.

Agromyza albipennis Meigen, 1830 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

2e > Leaf-miner: A short narrow mine, generally near apex of leaf. Larva with each segment bearing a row of characteristic papilli which are retained in the puparium (Spencer, 1976: 328). Pupation internal.

Transparent, short and narrow mine not far from the leaf tip. Frass in two rows of grains. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Avena, Dactylis, Holcus, Hordeum, Lolium, Phalaris, Phragmites, Poa and Secale, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain and additional other genera of grasses elsewhere. Widespread, but local, in south of Britain. Widespread in continental Europe. Also recorded in Canada.

Pseudonapomyza atra (Meigen, 1830) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

3a > Leaf-miner: A single larva in mine.

4

3b > Leaf-miner: More than one larva in mine.

5

4a > Leaf-miner: A lower surface mine. Pupation normally in the ground (Spencer, 1976: 202).

Broad, usually lower-surface corridor in the blade, generally first rising, then descending. Mostly one larva in a mine, but sometimes several mines on a leaf may merge. Frass in grains that gradually become both larger and more widely spaced. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Agrostis, Arrhenatherum, Dactylis, Elymus, Festuca, Holcus and Poa in Britain. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also Canada.

Cerodontha flavocingulata (Strobl, 1909) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

4b > Leaf-miner: Upper surface corridor mine. The mine starts at the leaf apex. Frass in clumps or closely packed grains (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On ? Arrhenatherum in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. British record needs confirmation as the species is not listed as a British species by Henshaw in Chandler, 1998. Recorded in continental Europe.

? Liriomyza graminivora Hering, 1949 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

4c > Leaf-miner: A narrow whitish linear mine, running down the leaf from the apex, with frass in two rows of separate grains. Pupation external (Spencer, 1976: 246).

Narrow corridor from start to end, whitish, uppper- or lower-surface, genarally running downwards. Mine often along the leaf margin. Frass in distict grains of regular size, alternating along the sides of the corridor. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Liriomyza flaveola on Festuca gigantea. Image: © Willis Ellis (Source: Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mine of Liriomyza flaveola on Festuca gigantea
Image: © Willis Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Bromus, Dactylis, Holcus and Poa, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Common and widespread throughout Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Common throughout much of Europe.

Liriomyza flaveola (Fallén, 1823) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

4d > Leaf-miner: Larvae feed singly, forming an upper surface linear-blotch mine. Pupation either internal or external. Puparium reddish, brown or black, frequently adhering to leaf near end of mine.

Mine of Agromyza albipennis on Phalaris arundinacea. Image: © Willem Ellis (Source: Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mine of Agromyza albipennis on Phalaris arundinacea
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Arrhenatherum, Brachypodium, Bromus, Dactylis, Glyceria, Holcus, Hordeum, Milium, Phalaris and Poa in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread and common in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Very common in western Europe and recorded in Canada.

Agromyza albipennis Meigen, 1830 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

4e > Leaf-miner: Mine greenish with only single larva, initially running towards apex of leaf before turning back down and developing into a broad blotch (Spencer, 1972b: 32, fig. 84; Spencer, 1976: 140, fig. 251).

Deep, transparant corridor-blotch. The mine begins not far from the leaf apex, at first running upwards as a narrow corridor, then reverses and quickly widens to a blotch. A single larva per mine. Frass in isolated grains. Pupation inside or outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The mine is illustrated in the Encyclopedia of Life.

Puparium reddish brown.

On Arrhenatherum, Bromus, Calamagrostis, Poa, Secale and Triticum in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Agromyza rondensis Strobl, 1900 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

4f > Leaf-miner: Larval leaf-mine starts as a narrow channel running towards apex of leaf but later develops into a broad blotch running downwards. Frass largely diffused, giving the mine a characteristic greenish appearance. Pupation external (Spencer, 1976: 126).

Corridor, usually several in one leaf, running from close to the leaf base up to near the tip, then reversing direction and widening, resulting in one communal mine in which the larvae descend in a common front . Frass somewhat deliquescent, mine therefore strikingly green. Pupation outside the mine. Neither mine nor larva distinguishable from those of mobilis (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Puparium reddish brown

On Dactylis, Festuca, Glyceria, Holcus, Lolium, Phleum, Poa, Secale, Setaria, Trisetum and Triticum, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain and additionally other genera of grasses elsewhere. Widespread in Britain. Common and widespread thoughout much of Europe. Also recorded in the U.S.A.

Agromyza nigrella (Rondani, 1875) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

5a > Leaf-miner: Normally several larvae feed together. Pupation in the mine. Puparium shining black (Spencer, 1976: 198).

Broad elongated blotch. Frass greenish. Larvae generally communal. Pupation within the mine. The black puaria are individially anchored within the mine with a silken thread attached at their rear end. Distinguishable from C. incisa only by means of the larva (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Arrhenatherum, Brachypodium, Bromus, Bromopsis, Calamagrostis, Dactylis, Deschampsia, Elymus, Festuca, Holcus, Lolium, Molinia and Phalaris in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread and common in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread and frequently common in much of Europe. Also recorded in Alaska and Canada.

Cerodontha pygmaea (Meigen, 1830) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

5b > Leaf-miner: Long upper-surface corridor usually containing several larvae that graze shoulder to shoulder from the leaf tip downwards. Pupation outside the mine. Mines and larvae are indistinguishable from those of A. nigrella (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Bromus, Bromopsis, Elymus, Holcus, Phleum and Triticum, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Agromyza mobilis Meigen, 1830 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

5c > Leaf-miner: The young larva first feeds towards the apex of the leaf, later turning and feeding downwards. Several larvae can occur together in a single leaf. Pupation external (Spencer, 1976: 130).

Upper-surface, greenish, gradually widening corridor, at first running towards the leaf tip, then reverses. Through fusion of several mines the final mine is often communal. Frass in backish green grains, often washed out. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Puparium reddish brown

Mine of Agromyza nigrociliata on Arrhenatherum elatius. Image: © Willem Ellis (Source: Bladmineerders en plantengallen van Europa)
Mine of Agromyza nigrociliata on Arrhenatherum elatius
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)
Agromyza nigrociliata puparium
Agromyza nigrociliata puparium
Image: © Willem Ellis (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Arrhenatherum, Dactylis, Elymus, Hordeum, Phalaris, Secale and Triticum in Britain and additional genera of grasses elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the East Palaearctic.

Agromyza nigrociliata Hendel, 1931 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

5d> Leaf-miner: Upper-surface, unusually short corridor (ca. 4 cm). Sometimes several mines in a leaf. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Arrhenatherum and ? Tragopogon and possibly Agrostis in Britain. Widespread but not common in southern England. Also recorded on in the Republic of Ireland and continental Europe.

Liriomyza pusio (Meigen, 1830) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].



Key for the identification of the known mines of British
non-Diptera recorded on Arrhenatherum


Note: The larvae of mining Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera may live in a corridor mine, a corridor-blotch mine, a blotch mine, a case, a rolled or folded leaf, a tentiform mine or sandwiched between two more or less circular leaf sections in later instars. Larva may pupate in a silk cocoon. The larva may have six legs (although they may be reduced or absent), a head capsule and chewing mouthparts with opposable mandibles (see video of a gracillarid larva feeding). Larvae of Hymenoptera and Lepidoptera usually also have abdominal legs (see examples). Frass, if present, never in two rows. Unless feeding externally from within a case the larva usually vacates the mine by chewing an exit hole. Pupa with visible head appendages, wings and legs which lie in sheaths (see examples).


1a > Leaf-miner: The larvae feed, causing whitish mines on the blades (UKMoths). Flat, translucent mine that can either run or down; the width may vary too, can be as wide as the blade. Frass few, grey, dispersed. The larva makes several mines (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Dactylis, Deschampsia and Holcus, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain plus Luzula, Agrostis, Alopecurus, Arrhenatherum, Avena, Avenula, Brachypodium, Bromus, Calamagrostis, Elymus, Festuca Koeleria, Phalaris, Phleum, Poa, Trisetum and Triticum elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Elachista albifrontella (Hübner, 1817) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: Corridor widening while descending from the tip of the leaf. The mine is unusual because the sides are very irregularly scalloped out. Moreover, the mine is not evenly transparent, but rather yellowish green and motly, because the larva leaves patches of parenchyma uneaten, and does not feed full depth. Frass in a few irregular, interrupted length lines. Often 2-3 larvae in a mine. The larvae hibernate in the centre of the mine; after winter they leave their mine and pupate ( Bladmineerders van Europa).

On 'various grasses' in Britain plus Luzula, Agrostis, Arrhenatherum, Brachypodium, Calamagorstis, Dactylis, Deschampsia, Elymus, Festuca, Glyceria, Holcus, Melica, Milium and Poa elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Elachista apicipunctella Stainton, 1849 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1c > Leaf-miner: Blotch in the leaf tip; the upper side is practically flat, the lower side can turn somewhat to purple. The larva may mine 2-3 leaves (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Avenula, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain and Arrhenatherum, Avena, Festuca, Avenula, Phleum and Poa elsewhere. Distribution in Britain unknown. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista bedellella (Sircom, 1848) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1d > Leaf-miner: Flat, whitish. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Holcus mollis, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain plus Agrostis, Arrhenatherum, Avenula, Deschampsia, Festuca and Poa elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Elachista canapennella (Hübner, 1813) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1e > Leaf-miner: Larva makes a large whitish blotch and mines the leaf downwards. The frass tends to be deposited in the upper part of the mine (British leafminers). Oviposition usually not far from the leaf tip. From there descends an irregular blotch mine. Hering (1957a) describes the mine as flat and quite shallow, giving it a greenish, rather than whitish appearance. Frass initially in the oldest, upper part of the mine, later in strings. The larva can leave its mine and restart elsewhere. Normally only one larva per mine, but sometimes two or even three mines in a leaf. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Dactylis, Phalaris, Phragmites and Poa, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain plus Agrostis, Alopecurus, Arrhenatherum, Brachypodium, Calamagrostis, Elymus, Festuca, Holcus, Trisetum and Triticum elsewhere. Widely distributed in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Elachista maculicerusella (Bruand, 1859) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1f > Leaf-miner: The larvae feed, causing whitish mines on the blades (UKMoths). Flat, translucent mine that can either run or down; the width may vary too, can be as wide as the blade. Frass few, grey, dispersed. The larva makes several mines (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Arrhenatherum, Festuca, Holcus and Phleum in Britain and Arrhenatherum, Festuca and Holcus elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded from the Republic of Ireland.

Elachista rufocinerea (Haworth, 1828) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1g > Leaf-miner: The larva creates a long narrow mine in the blade (UKMoths). Mine fairly translucent. It starts as a narrow corridor, running towards the leaf tip, but this almost invariably is overrun be a later, broad, descending corridor. The centre of the mine contains a vertical tube made of loose silk, in which the larva can quickly move up or down, and in which also most frass gets trapped. The sides of the mine are smooth (contrary to E. gangabella). Mines are difficult to find, because the leaves are wilting when larvae are present (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Molinia, but not yet on Arrhenatherum, in Britain and Carex, Arrhenatherum, Brachypodium, Calamagrostis, Melica, Molinia and Poa elsewhere.

Elachista subalbidella Schläger, 1847 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].



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