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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AVENULA. [Poaceae]


FIve or six species of Avenula are recorded in Britain.

Eighteen British miners are recorded on Avenula.

A key to the European miners recorded on Avenula 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 Avenula


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.


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)

On numerous genera of grasses, including Arrhenatherum, Avenula and Brachypodium in Britain. On 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, but not yet on Avenula, 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.

Polyphagpus. On ? Alisma, ? Damasonium, ? Sagittaria, ? Bellis, ? Rorippa, Tropaeolum, ? Lychnis, ? Stellaria, ? Carex, ? Cyperus, ? Scirpus, ? Hydrocharis, ? Stratiotes, ? Lamium, ? Lemna, ? Allium, Arrhenatherum, ? Polygonum, ? Potamogeton, ? Veronica, ? Typha, but not yet on Avenula, 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].

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. Normally pupation in the ground. Puparium yellowish brown.

On Agrostis, Arrhenatherum, Dactylis, Elymus, Festuca, Holcus and Poa, but not yet on Avenula, in Britain. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also Canada.

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

4b > 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, but not yet on Avenula, 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].

4c > 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 Avenula, 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].

4d > 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 Avenula, 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].

5a > Leaf-miner: Normally several larvae feed together. Pupation in the mine. Puparium shining black

On Arrhenatherum, Brachypodium, Bromus, Bromopsis, Calamagrostis, Dactylis, Deschampsia, Elymus, Festuca, Holcus, Lolium, Molinia and Phalaris, but not yet on Avenula, 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: 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, but not yet on Avenula, 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].

5c > Leaf-miner: Upper-surface, unusually short corridor (ca. 4 cm). Puparium brown

On Arrhenatherum and Tragopogon and possibly Agrostis, but not yet on Avenula, 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].

5d > 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 Avenula, in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Agromyza mobilis Meigen, 1830 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].



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


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 > Seed-feeder, leaf-miner and case-bearer: Initially it feeds on the seeds of thyme and then uses the seedhead as a case. It overwinters in this case and starts feeding again in March on grass spp. It then makes a case from the mined blade of grass (British leafminers). The larva initially feeds on the seeds of thyme, feeding within a floret and using this as its case. After overwintering, it changes foodplants to grass, and eventually forms an elongated case from two grass blade portions sewn together (UKMoths). The larva begins its life by eating out the ripe fruit of a thyme floret. The emptied and dried calyx functions as its first case, in which it hibernates. After hibernation the larva switches to grasses, initially in its original thyme case. Later a new case is made out of a mined grass leaf. This final case is about 11 mm long, two-valved, straw-coloured, has a mouth angle of 25°, and bears a striking resemblance to a grass spikelet (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Thymus and the grasses Anthoxanthum odoratum, Briza media, Dactylis glomerata, Holcus lanata and Poa annua, but not yet on Avenula, in Britain and these grasses plus Alopecurus pratensis, Avenula pubescens, Bromus hordaceus, Elymus and Koeleria elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Coleophora lixella Zeller, 1849 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae]

1b > Leaf-miner: The larva mines from the grass tip downwards and the mine occupies half or the whole of the leaf blade width. A whitish blotch is formed with characteristic narrow streaks of frass (British leafminers). Full depth blotch, slightly inflated, descending from the leaf tip, occupying half or the entire width of the blade. The larva may move and make a new mine elsewhere. In the latter case the mines are fairly short; otherwise an entire blade may be mined out. Frass in a some narrow greyish brown streaks. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Dactylis, Deschampsia and Holcus, but not yet on Avenula, 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].

1c > Leaf-miner: In autumn the larva makes a narrow corridor a few cm in length, in which it hibernates. In March it moves to a new leaf. Here a transparent, full depth mine is made that descends from the leaf tip, and occupies the entire width of the blade. Most frass is concentrated in the oldest, highest, part of the mine. The larva may leave its mine and restart elsewhere. Pupation outside the mine

Mine of Elachista argentella on Dactylis glomerata
Mine of Elachista argentella on Dactylis glomerata
Image: © Ben Smart (British leafminers)

On Dactylis glomerata, but not yet on Avenula, in Britain. On numerous grasses including Avenula elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Elachista argentella (Clerck, 1759) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1d > 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 pratense in Britain and Arrhenatherum, Avena, Festuca, Avenula, Phleum and Poa elsewhere. Distibution in Britain uknown. Widespread in continental Europe.

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

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

On Holcus, but not yet on Avenula, in Britain and Agrostis, Arrhenatherum, Deschampsia, Festuca, Avenula, Holcus and Poa elsewhere. Britain and Northern Ireland. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

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

1f > Leaf-miner: Narrow, flat, corridor descending from the leaf tip. Frass in an almost continuous line. The larva usually makes several mines. Mines pale yellow green at first, turning purple later. Pupation external (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Bromopsis erecta and Avenula pubescens in Britain and Avena, Bromopsis, Calamagrostis, Dactylis, Festuca, Avenula and Holcus elsewhere. Southern England. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista subnigrella Douglas, 1853 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1g > Leaf-miner: In autumn the larva makes a long, somewhat blistered, slightly transparent corridor. In spring it mines the basal leaves that lie on the ground. These mines are swollen, clouded green, opaque, and the mined tips of the leaves are puckered and shrunken, filled with frass (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Brachypodium and Dactylis, but not yet on Avenula, in Britain and Brachypodium, Dactylis, Avenula, Holcus and Milium elsewhere. Recorded from North Essex, North Hants and South Essex in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

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



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