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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DESCHAMPSIA. Hair-grasses. [Poaceae]


Four species of Deschampsia are recorded in Britain. These include the native species and subspecies Alpine Hair-grass (D. cespitosa alpina), Bog Hair-grass (D. setacea), Small-flowered Hair-grass (D. cespitosa parviflora), Tufted Hair-grass (D. cespitosa cespitosa) and Wavy Hair-grass (D. flexuosa). The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for the Deschampsia caespitosa complex.

Twenty-two British miners are recorded on Deschampsia.

A key to the European miners recorded on Deschampsia 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 Deschampsia


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# > Details unknown (Bladmineerders van Europa). Pupation internal (Spencer, 1972b: 104, as deschampsiae).

On Deschampsia cespitosa in Britain and elsewhere. Uncommon in Britain - Middlesex and Cambridge. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Cerodontha imbuta (Meigen, 1938) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1# > ? Leaf-miner: Details of mine unknown. Puparium reddish

On Deschampsia flexuosa in Britain and elsewhere. Uncommon in Britain - Devon, Dorset, Oxford, West Sussex, East Kent, Notts and South-west York. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread throughout much of Europe.

Liriomyza richteri Hering, 1927 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1# > Leaf-mine: Details unknown.

On Avena, Deschampsia and Poa (Spencer, 1990), although it is not clear whether any of these are British host records. Widepread in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe

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

1a > Leaf-miner: Larvae either singly or several in leaf, then forming large blotch-mine, feeding first up and then down the leaf. Pupation external (Spencer, 1976: 119).

Shallow upper-surface corridor, without full-depth sections, starting high in the leaf. Initially the corridor runs up, but soon it changes direction, quickly widening. In Deschampsia generally one mine per leaf, occupying its entire width; in Glyceria there mostly are serveral mines that merge in the end. Pupation outside the mine; the puparium often sticks to the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Puparium black or dark red

On Dactylis, Deschampsia and Glyceria in Britain and Deschampsia, Echinaria and Glyceria elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in Canada.

Agromyza lucida Hendel, 1920 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1b > 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].

1c > Leaf-miner: Larvae feeding singly, forming a long, widening mine on the upper surface of the leaf, which is generally limited to one side of the leaf. Pupation external, puparium glued to the leaf near the end of the mine (Spencer, 1976: 128).

Broad corridor, generally beginning near the leaf margin or close to the leaf tip. Most of the times the mine remains at one side of the midrib. The mine is upper-surface, but has some full depth, translucent spots here and there. Frass in rather regularly scattered grains. Pupation outside the mine. According to Dempewolf (2004a) only the male genitalia enable a reliable discrimination from A. abipennis and A. graminicola (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Glyceria and Holcus in Britain and additional genera of grasses in continental Europe. Widespread and common in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe. Also recorded in Canada.

Agromyza nigripes Meigen, 1830 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1d > 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 Deschampsia, in Britain. 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].

1e > 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 Deschampsia, in Britain and additional grasses elsewhere. Recorded in Scotland and Widespread in continental Europe. Also recorded in Canada.

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

1f > 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 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 Deschamsia, in Britain and additional grasses, including Agrostis, 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].

1g > 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 Deschampsia, 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].

1h > Leaf-miner: Upper surface, deep, narrow mine; frass in two regular rows; pupation external (Spencer, 1972b: 60, as flavoscutellaris).

A short, descending corridor in a leaf sheath. Fress in few, isolated blad granules. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Carex, but not yet on Deschampsia, in Britain and Alopecurus, Deschampsia and Holcus elsewhere. Widespread in south in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Metopomyza flavonotata (Haliday, 1833) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

 


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


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: Tufted hair-grass and blue moor-grass are the main foodplants, the larvae forming gallery mines (UKMoths). Gradually widening corridor, running either upwards or down. All frass is deposited in the earliest part of the mine. Often 2-3 larvae in a mine; in grasses with broad leaves sometimes more than one mine in a leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Deschampsia and Sesleria in Britain and Carex, Brachypodium, Calamagrostis, Deschampsia, Elymus, Festuca, Melica, Milium, Phleum, Poa and Sesleria elsewhere. Occurs in woodland habitats in England, Wales and locally in Ireland. Also recorded in the Channel Is. and the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista adscitella Stainton, 1851 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: Corridor, 15 cm in the end, descending from the leaf tip. The mine is whtish and shallow at first, then becomes deeper, yellowish white, and more transparent. Pupation external; pupa, not in a cocoon, attached to the leaf (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Carex, Eleocharis and Eriophorum, but not yet on Deschampsia, in Britain and Carex, Eleocharis, Eriophorum, Scirpus, Calamagrostis, Deschampsia, Melica and Poa elsewhere. Northern Britain & Ireland. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista albidella Nylander, 1848 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1c > 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 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].

1d > 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', but not yet on Deschampsia, 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].

1e > 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 Deschampsia, in Britain. On numerous grasses including Deschampsia elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

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

1f > Leaf-miner: Mine a descending and widening corridor, in the end an elongate blotch that may occupy the entire width of the leaf. The mine contracts somehat, narrowing the leaf. Frass in some elongate lumps in the centre of the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Deschampsia and Festuca in Britain and Carex, Brachypodium, Calamagrostis, Deschampsia and Festuca elsewhere. Widespread in Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista bisulcella (Duponchel, 1843) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

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

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

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

1h > Leaf-miner: Mine generally descending from the leaf tip. The mine may occupy the space between leaf margin and midrib, but may also occupy the entire width of the leaf. Most frass accumulated in the oldest part of the mine. Pupation external; the pupa is attached to the leaf without a cocoon Larval head and prothoracic shield dark brown, ody yellowish white, with a pair of orange red latero-dorsal length lines; ventrally another such line, medially (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Carex and Deschampsia in Britain plus Melica and Sesleria elsewhere. Britain and Northern Ireland. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

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

1i > Leaf-miner: In spring a short corridor is made that is almost stuffed with frass. After hibernation this mine is vacated, and the larva then makes a number of elongated blotches, all descending from the leaf tip. These latter mines are whitish, with irregularly scattered frass (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Carex, Agrostis, Anthoxanthum, Deschampsia, Festuca, Holcus and Poa in Britain plus Phalaris elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Elachista humilis Zeller, 1850 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1j > Leaf-miner: The larva starts mining near a leaf tip in early autumn. This early mine approximates to being linear but is very erratic in its course. In earl winter the the larva usually moves to anew leaf. This second mine usually takes the form of a compact but irregularly brownish blotch close to or often within the area of purplish discoloration of the dying leaf tip. Occasionally the larva does not change mines but extends the one made in autumn. Pupation takes place in a concealed place amongst debris or between closely applied leaves (Bland and Knill-Jones, 1988). Egg generally at the underside of the leaf tip. From September until the following spring a narrow meandering corridor is made. Then gradually the corridor widens to nearly the full width of the leaf. Generally the larvae make a new mine in early winter, obviously without the initial corridor. The mine in this stage is brown and situated close to (or within) the red coloured dying apical part of the leaf. Frass in large elongate dark spots. Pupation external (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Elachista gleichenella on Carex flacca
Mine of Elachista gleichenella on Carex flacca
Image: © Jean-Yves Baugnée (Bladmineerders van Europa)

On Carex and Luzula, but not yet on Deschampsia, in Britain plus Deschampsia elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Elachista gleichenella (Fabricius, 1781) [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1k > Leaf-miner: Long, narrow, white corridor, descending from close to the leaf tip to the leaf base or even stem. Frass in an inconspicuous grey line. From the stem the larva may enter a new leaf (Steuer, 1987a; Bland, 1996a) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Brachypodium and Dactylis, but not yet on Deschampsia, in Britain and Bromopsis, Dactylis, Deschampsia, Festuca, Lolium, Melica, Milium and Poa elsewhere. Widespread in Britain, Ireland and continental Europe.

Elachista luticomella Zeller, 1839 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1l > Leaf-miner: Initially a narrow brownish mine with blackish frass at its base, then moves to another leaf, forming a broader mine. Both mines can pucker the blade (British leafminers).

On Brachypodium and Bromopsis in Britain and numerous grasses and sedges in continetal Europe.Southern half of England. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista obliquella Stainton, 1858 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].

1m > Leaf-miner: Mines downwards from leaf tip to stem. Makes a long narrow yellowish mine. May be up to four larvae in one leaf (British leafminers). Long narrow yellowish corridor, descending from the leaf tip to its base; at times 3-4 larvae in a leaf. Often several larvae in a communal mine. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Agrostis, Brachypodium, Carex, Deschampsia and Festuca in Britain plus Avena, Calamagrostis, Milium and Poa elsewhere. Mainly in southern England and south Wales in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

Elachista stabilella Stainton, 1858 [Lepidoptera: Elachistidae].



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