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


ATROPA. Deadly Nightshade. [Solanaceae]

Deadly Nightshade (A. belladonna), is the only species of Atropa recorded in Britain. It is a native species.

Five British miners are recorded on Atropa.

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

Sea-purslane - Atriplex portulacoides. Image: © Brian Pitkin
Deadly Nigthshade
Atropa belladona

Key for the identification of the known mines of British
insects (Diptera and non-Diptera) recorded on Atropa

1a > Leaf-miner: A short, irregular, linear upper surface mine on any part of the leaf, indistinguishable from the mine of Liriomyza sativae.

Polyphagous. On 119 plant genera in 31 plant families of which only 4 plant genera in 2 plant families, but not yet on Atropa, in Britain. Local, probably introduced to Britain. Widespread in continental Europe particularly in Botanical Gardens and glasshouses. Also recorded in Egypt

Liriomyza bryoniae (Kaltenbach, 1858) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: Mine linear, whitish, both upper and lower surface. Pupation internal, at the end of the mine with the anterior spiracles projecting through the epidermis (Spencer, 1976: 433).

Upper-surface, less often lower-surface corridor. Frass in isolated grains. Pupation within the mine, usually in a lower-surface puparial chamber.

A long whitish upper surface corridor, which eventually goes lower surface.

Two highly polyphagous species of Chromatomyia, with indistinguishable mines, have been recorded in Britain. These are syngenesiae (Hardy) and horticola (Goureau) which can only be distinguished by the male genitalia. Both species are widespread in Britain and elsewhere, although syngenesiae is almost entirely restricted to Asteraceae. Records on Asteraceae not based on examination of male genitalia are treated in this account as Chromatomyia 'atricornis'.

Chromatomyia horticola is recorded on 160 plant genera in 31 families of which 55 plant genera in 19 families, including Atropa, in Britain.

Chromatomyia horticola (Goureau, 1851) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1c > Leaf-miner: Large blotch mine, often with several larvae, beginning with a short deeper corridor at a single egg shell on the surface of the leaf. The broad deep corridor later ends in a blotch but can be recognised (beneath the blotch) by its greater depth. Mine predominantly dorsal or ventral, greenish in transmitted light. Frass grains irregularly scattered except in the initial corridor.

Blotch, mostly occupying almos the entire leaf, containing several larvae. Much, half-deliquescent, greenish-black frass. At the start of the mine at the leaf underside a group of some 5 elliptic egg shells, parallel to each other. However, the larvae can leave their mine and restart elsewhere, so mines without egg shells can occur as well. The larvae do not penetrate into the stem of the plant, neither is the mine full depth (compare Delia species). Mine indistinguishable from P. exilis or P. hyoscyami.

Makes a large upper surface whitish blotch, which can contain several larvae. The frass has a washed out appearance and is greenish. There may be several mines on a leaf and eventually the leaf will be mined and then shrivel up. To identify this miner adults must be reared.

On Silene, Atriplex, Beta, Chenopodium and ? Solanum, but not yet on Atropa, in Britain and additional genera of Chenopodiaceae and Solanaceae elsewhere. Known only from Inner Hebrides, Ayr and Warwick in Britain. Also recorded in continental Europe and the East Palaearctic.

Pegomya hyoscyami (Panzer, 1809) [Diptera: Anthomyiidae].

1d > Leaf-miner: Blotch mines, generally occupying an entire leaf, usually containing several larvae. Much, half deliquescent, green frass. Mine indistinguishable from P. exilis or P. hyoscyami.

On Atriplex, Beta and ? Polygonum, but not yet on Atropa, in Britain and additionally Silene and Spinacia [Caryophyllaceae], Chenopodium, Atropa, Hyoscyamus and Solanum [Solanaceae] in continental Europe. Only recorded from Warwick in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland, Europe, the East Palaearctic and Nearctic Regions. Widespread in continental Europe including Balearic Is., Canary Is., Czech Republic, Danish mainland, Finland, Greek mainland, Hungary, Italian mainland, Malta, Norwegian mainland, Russia (Central), Sweden, East Palaearctic, Near East, North Africa (Michelsen in Fauna Europaea).

Pegomya betae (Curtis, 1847) [Diptera: Anthomyiidae].

1e > Leaf-miner: The larvae forms large whitish or translucent blotches. Rather large, untidy blotch, full-depth for most of its surface, very transparent, without feeding lines and without association with midrib or leaf margin. The larva makes several mines. Often only its anterior part is inserted in the mine, that remains free of frass then. Pupation outside the mine in a silk cocoon.

On Atropa belladona and Solanum dulcamarain Britain and Atropa belladona, Physalis alkekengi and Solanum dulcamara, elsewhere. Distributed mainly in the southern half of England, with a few scattered records further north in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

Acrolepia autumnitella Curtis, 1838 [Lepidoptera: Acrolepiidae].

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