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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SILENE. Campions and Catchflys. [Caryophyllaceae]


Forty-four species of Silene are recorded in Britain. These include the native Moss Campion (S. acaulis), Sand Catchfly (S. conica), Red Campion (S. dioica), Small-flowered Catchfly (S. gallica), White Campion (S. latifolia), Night-flowering Catchfly (S. noctiflora), Nottingham Catchfly (S. nutans), Spanish Catchfly (S. otites), Sea Campion (S. uniflora) and Bladder Campion (S. vulgaris).

Lychnis chalcedonica is treated as Silene chalcedonica and Lychnis flos-cuculi is treated as Silene flos-cuculiby Stace (2010).

Moss Campion (S. acaulis) is protected in Northern Ireland under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order, 1985.

Fifteen British miners are recorded on Silene.

Elsewhere the tephritid Philophylla caesio is recorded as a miner in the petioles of Urtica sp. by Ferrar (1987), Beiger (1968) and White (1988), although there are unconfirmed records on Caprifoliaceae and Asteraceae, which seems an odd combination of hosts.

The agromyzid Ophiomyia melandryi feeds in the stems of Silene in Britain and elsewhere.

The tortricid Cnephasia conspersana is recorded as a seed / shoot-feeder on Silene in Britain.

Red Campion - Silene dioica. Image: © Brian Pitkin
Red Campion
Silene dioica


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


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 > Stem-miner or Leaf and Stem-miner

2

1b > Leaf-miner

3

2a > Stem miner: A shallow external stem-mine (Spencer, 1972b: 29).

The mine generally starts as a fine, lower-surface, corridor the seems to end upon a thick vein. In reality the corridor continues by way of the petiole to the stem, where a very long mine is formed in the rind. Frass in widely spaced grains. Pupation within the mine, mostly just above a node; the anterior spiracles penetrate the epidermis (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Lychnis, Moehringia and Silene in Britain and additional genera and species of Caryophyllaceae elsewhere. Only known from Hunts, Monmouth and Warwick in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

Ophiomyia melandricaulis Hering, 1943 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

2b > Leaf and Stem-miner: Eggs are scattered individually over the leaf upper surface; they are only loosely attached to the plant. The egg shell has a honeycomb structure. The larva begins with first mining one of the top leaves completely out. Next the larva moves down to another leaf, by way of a tunnel made in the stem. In this way several leaves are mined out, completely and full depth. In the attacked part of the plant the stem has become translucent; the damage causes the plant tip to wilt. In the first mines almost no frass is to be found, further down it is deposited in coarse grains. Pupation generally outside the mine (Miles, 1953) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On ? Agrostemma, ? Arenaria, ? Cerastium, ? Dianthus, ? Gypsophila , ? Lychnis, ? Saponaria, Silene, ? Spergularia, ? Stellaria, Vaccaria, Atriplex, ? Chenopodium, Spinacia and ? Phlox in Britain. On Amaranthus, Agrostemma, Arenaria, Cerastium, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Saponaria, Silene, Spergularia, Stellaria, Vaccaria, Atriplex, Chenopodium, Spinacia, Phlox and Primula elsewhere. Recorded from Warwick and West Ross in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

Delia echinata (Seguy, 1923) [Diptera: Anthomyiidae].

2c > Leaf and Stem-miner: Leaf and stem mine. Mine always arising from the leaf base or ending in it, because the larva mines and changes leaves. Mine often broad, irregular corridor like, often touching the midrib. At first corridor often entirely without frass, later in the spring the mines are often less deep, containing thick, irregularly deposited frass lumps.

On ? Cheiranthus, Dianthus and ? Lychnis and ? Silene in Britain. Only recorded in Warwick, Easterness and Surrey in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe. Also recorded in the Near East and Nearctic Region.

Delia cardui (Meigen, 1826) [Diptera: Anthomyiidae].

3a > Leaf-miner: A distinctive mine primarily above mid-rib, with irregular short lateral offshoots into leaf blade. Pupation external (Spencer, 1972: 51 (fig. 172), 55; Spencer, 1976: 270, 271 (fig. 486)).

Branched, whitish, upper-surface corridor; main axis overlying the midrib; side branches overlying the main lateral veins. (In Campanula and Phyteuma the mine is much less branched, sometimes nothing more than a corridor on top of the midrib). Frass in rather long strings. Usually the mines begins as a long and narrow, shallow, tortuous lower-surface corridor that ends upon the midrib but otherwise is not associated with the leaf venation. Often this initial corridor is filled with callus, and then even less conspicuous. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

A linear mine on the upper surface, usually following the midrib and showing side branches along the veins. The frass is in strings (British leafminers).

Polyphagous. On more than 40 host genera in 15 families, but not yet on Silene, in Britain,. Widespread throughout Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

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

3b > Leaf-miner: A white linear-blotch mine, the linear section sometimes not detectable as it becomes enveloped in later blotch (Spencer, 1976: 162-3, figs 296-7).

Upper-surface, less often lower-surface, corridor, followed, and often overrun, by a large blotch. Even when the corridor is overun, it usually remains recognisable in the frass pattern. The mine looks whitish in the field. The blotch does not contain much frass, in the form of small black grains, dispersed and stuck to the floor of the mine. Feeding punctures upper-surface (always?). Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

A common miner, forming a white linear blotch mine (the blotch may obscure the linear portion of the mine) in both native and garden plants (British leafminers).The mine is also illustrated in the Encyclopedia of Life.

On Agrostemma, Dianthus, Lychnis, Saponaria, Silene, Stellaria [Caryophyllaceae] and Atriplex, Beta and Spinacia [Chenopodiaceae] in Britain. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also Canada.

Amauromyza flavifrons (Meigen, 1830) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

3c > Leaf-miner: Upper side blotch mine beginning with a deeper, almost full depth corridor. Frass grains not in thread-like pieces, irregularly scattered. In the large, later blotch indistinct primary and secondary frass lines are found; the frass accumulated in the middle.

Each mine begins with one, rarely two, oval egg shells attached to the leaf underside. Sometimes a number of of young mines, and eggs, on one leaf. The first part of the mine is a tortuous corridor, quickly turning into a large blotch. Most of the blotch is full depth, only some patches are upper-surface, and greenish in transparency. According to the literature copious frass in present in dispersed lumps. In my experience the larva -that then looks very dark- may accumulate all frass in its body. The larva is capable of leaving its mine, and starting a new one elsewhere. These secondary mines can be recognised by the large hole that was made by the larva when entering. Pupation outside the mine (Bladmineerders van Europa).

A gallery then a blotch, larger and deeper than Amauromyza flavifrons. In large leaves the mine is upper surface and all in one piece. In small leaves the whole leaf may be covered by a full depth mine with the larva mining several leaves in British leafminers.

On Cerastium, Lychnis, Myosoton, Silene and Stellaria in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Pegomya flavifrons (Walker, 1849) [Diptera: Anthomyiidae].

3d > Leaf-miner: Blotch mines, generally occupying an entire leaf, usually containing several larvae. Much, half deliquescent, green frass (Bladmineerders van Europa). Mine indistinguishable from P. exilis or P. hyoscyami (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Atriplex, Beta and ? Polygonum, but not yet on Silene, 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].

3e > 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) (Bladmineerders van Europa). Mine indistinguishable from P. exilis or P. hyoscyami (Bladmineerders van Europa).

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 (British leafminers).

On Silene [Caryophyllaceae], Atriplex, Beta, Chenopodium [Chenopodiaceae] and possibly Solanum [Solanaceae] 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].

3f > Leaf-miner: The mine starts as a long, narrow, winding corridor running towards the midrib, widening to a blotch. Usually upper-surface, but in small leaves also full-depth parts may occur. The blotch has broad lobes; in their ends most frass is accumulated in the form of green patches or clouds. Sometimes several larvae share mine. Pupation usually in the soil, less often in the leaf (and then generally not in the mine itself but in a small separated mine, that may even be made in the petiole) (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Scaptomyza graminum on
Mine of Scaptomyza graminum on Cerastium glomeratum
Image: © Jean-Yves Baugnée (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Polyphagous. On ? Amaranthus, Cerastium, Lychnis, Myosoton, Nasturtium, Silene, Stellaria, Atriplex, ? Anthyllis, ? Lupinus, ? Medicago, ? Montia and ? Antirrhinum in Britain.

On Amaranthus, Lepidium, Moricandia, ? Rorippa, Agrostemma, Arenaria, Cerastium, Corrigiola, Cucubalus, Dianthus, Gypsophila, Lychnis, Moehringia, Myosoton, Polycarpon, Saponaria, Silene, Spergularia, Stellaria, Vaccaria, Viscaria, Atriplex, Beta, Chenopodium, Obione, Salicornia, Spinacia, Anthyllis, Lupinus, Medicago, Allium, Montia, Portulaca and Antirrhinum elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe.

Scaptomyza graminum (Fallén, 1823) [Diptera: Drosophilidae].

3g > Leaf-miner: Full depth, initially a much branched corridor, irregular in width, in the end almost a blotch. The mine has openings by which part of the frass is ejected. The larvae frequently leave the mine to restart elsewhere. Older larva live free and cause window feeding, often erasing their old mines. In Coltsfoot also pseudo-mines are made, when the larva eats away the lower epidermis with the leaf tissue, but spares the dense hair cover (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Ranunculus, but not yet on Silene, in Britain. On numerous genera and species in several families elsewhere, including Adoxa. Distribution in Britain unknown. Widespread in continental Europe.

Phytosciara halterata Lengersdorf, 1926 [Diptera: Sciaridae].



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


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 and case-bearer: The larva lives outside the mine, protected by a case, and feeds on the underlying plant tissues via a hole cut in the epidermis. From that point it eats away as much leaf tissue as it can reach without fully entering the mine. Mine does not contain frass (Coleophora species)

2

1b > Leaf-miner, but not a case-bearer: The larva lives mainly inside the mine. Mine usually contains frass. In later instars the larva may live sandwiched between two more or less circular sections cut from the leaf.

3

2a > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: The final case is about 12 mm long and many may be found on a single plant. The white case has distinctive longitudinal stripes (British leafminers). Trivalved tubular silken case of c. 12 mm long. Mouth angle c. 40°. The case is yellowish white, with several characteristic dark length lines (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Case of Coleophora galbulipennella on Silene nutans Image: © Jon Clifton (British leafminers)
Case of Coleophora galbulipennella on Silene nutans
Image: © Jon Clifton (British leafminers)

On Silene in Britain and Lychnis and Silene elsewhere. Apparently widespread in Britain including East Kent and Kirkudbright. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora galbulipennella Zeller, 1838 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2b > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Larva mines leaves of Caryophyllaceae. The final case is tubular, 8 mm long, with a dorsal keel which forks and continues as two ridges to the anal end of the case (British leafminers). The larval case is very distinctive when fully grown as it is a pale pink colour and has a double dorsal keel (UKMoths).

Case and mine of Coleophora lithargyrinella on Stellaria holostea Image: © Rob Edmunds (British leafminers)
Case and mine of Coleophora lithargyrinella on Stellaria holostea
Image: © Rob Edmunds (British leafminers)

On Arenaria, Cerastium, Silene and Stellaria in Britain and Arenaria, Cerastium and Stellaria elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland.

Coleophora lithargyrinella Zeller, 1849 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

2c > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Larva mines leaves, forming a case from an excised mine. This case is later extended, and widened by slitting the ventral side to insert a gusset. The full-grown case is 8 mm long with a single ventral keel (British leafminers). Full grown larva in a slender greyish white three-valved tubular silken case of c. 8 mm; mouth angle about 45°. Often several cases together on a small number of plants (Bladmineerders van Europa).

On Cerastium, Myosoton, Silene and Stellaria in Britain and Arenaria, Cerastium, Myosoton and Stellaria elsewhere. The Isle of Wight in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora solitariella Zeller, 1849 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

3a > Leaf-miner: In the first instar the larva mines the leaves, forming short, irregular, blotch-like mines, but in later instars it lives externally, feeding in spun leaves and often twisting those of tender shoots. Larval head light-brown or yellowish brown, edged with black postero-laterally, ocellar area blackish; prothoracic plate black edged with whitish anteriorly; abdomen dull dark green; pinacula distinct, black, sometimes brownish but with black bases to setae; anal plate large, black (Bradley et al., 1973). Small, full depth mine without a definite shape; little frass. Some silk is deposited in the mine. The larva soon leaves the mine and continues feeding among spun leaves (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Polyphagous. On numerous genera and species of several plant families, but not yet on Silene, in Britain. On numerous genera and species of several plant families, including Silene, elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded from the Channel Is.

Cnephasia incertana (Treitschke, 1835) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

3b > Leaf-miner: Rather narrow corridor, untidy and sometimes branched, starting from the base of the leaf, in particular the midrib. Sides of the corridor irregularly eaten out, not really parallel. Frass mostly present, and then in a central line. The larva is capable of leaving the mine and start a new one elsewhere. These later mines are much broader, and the frass is scattered irregularly. (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Mine of Orthochaetes insignis on Prunella vulgaris
Mine of Orthochaetes insignis on Prunella vulgaris
Image: © Jean-Yves Baugnée (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Host plants unknown in Britain. On numerous genera and species in several plant families, including Carduus, elsewhere. Recorded in southern England. Widespread in continental Europe.

Orthochaetes insignis (Aube, 1863) [Coleoptera: Curculionidae].



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