Friday, June 25, 2010

Leaf miners: tracks left in leaves

Here are three examples of leafminer tracks.

The first is
Chromatomyia primulae (Robineau-Desvoidy, 1851) in a primrose leaf. The 'mine' is white, long and narrow, with frass in conspicuous, widely spaced black lumps. It is harmless to the plant.
Scanned on 25/06/2010. Leaf from a garden plant in Wimbledon.


This contrasts with the expanding track of Stigmella aurella in a bramble leaf below. This is one of the commonest miners in Britain and again, it is harmless to the plant.
Photo taken 06/04/2010. Leaf from a bramble in a hedgerow in Senni.


The third is an infected leaf of a Horse Chestnut tree on the southern side of Wimbledon Common, where almost all the leaves were heavily infected by the Horse chestnut leaf miner Cameraria ohridella.
Scanned on 28/06/2004. Leaf from a Horse Chestnut tree on Wimbledon Common

This leaf infection was first discovered in Macedonia in the late 1970s. They were first found established in the UK in the trees on Wimbledon Common in July 2002. Its spread in the UK is being monitored by the Forestry Commission who have issued an 'Exotic Pest Alert'. This year, in June 2010, the same trees are again heavily infected.


Besides moths, similar tracks can be left by a number of beetles, flies and sawflies as they grow and feed on leaves before they burst out of the leaf covering (a useful defence). See where I hope that I identified these leafminers correctly.

Christopher Spry
Wimbledon, London
Updated 21:45, 27 June 2010

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