Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Leaf Mines

I'm going through pics of leaf mines taken during the summer to see if I can get to grips with id-ing at least some of them.

So far I believe I have Eriocrania subpurpurella from oak in my garden, Phyllonorycter esperella from hornbeam at the burial park, Caloptilia syringella from lilac and also ash in my garden and Stigmella microtheriella from hazel in my garden but I would appreciate some help with a few of the rest:

 Apple - August

 Aquilegia - August
 Ash - August. I think the "lump" is some sort of sawfly? But the blotch - is that Caloptilia syringella again, or th eother one?
 Birch - May

 Birch - October
 Hazel - October
 Holly - August (looking at the leafmines website there don't seem to be any moths on Holly, but here it is anyway...)
 Oak - August (is this just extensive Eriocrania subpurpurella?)
Primrose - August

Thanx for any help!

Dave Morris


  1. Hello Dave, Photo 1: Phyllonorycter blancardella or hostis. I'm not sure how to distinguish them, but blancardella is supposed to be commoner.
    2: Don't know
    3: Phytomyza miniscula on Aquilegia - It's a Dipteran.
    4: I don't know how to distinguish syringella and cuculipennella.
    5: Choose from about 6 of Stigmella, 6 flies and 6 Hymenoptera. Good luck!
    6: Ditto
    7: Could be anything??
    8: Stigmella microtheriella/floslactella but I can't see it well enough to be sure.
    9: On Holly: Phytomyza ilicis (It's a Dipteran).
    10: I keep on meaning to ask someone - it's a result of mob grazing by some weirdo creatures which are not moths but may be flies.
    11:Chromatomyia primulae on Primrose. (Diptera).
    Andy King.

  2. Well done Andy for attempting that lot!!

    As you will have noticed, Dave, you've got several fly mines there. It is worth remembering that a number of flies, wasps and beetles also mine leaves but they have their own characteristics and can usually be separated from Lepidoptera mines quite easily (explained very briefly under the 'mines' tab on the www.leafmines.co.uk website).

    When it comes to photography it is often essential to be able to see into the mine, so the pictures therefore need to be back-lit. There are various ways of doing this but I usually sellotape the leaf to a window on the sunny side of the house and then photograph it from indoors looking out, without flash.

  3. Andy, thanx for looking! With the "May Birch", it looks like a mixture of so many different things; I was reading the descriptions on "leafmines" and not getting anywhere!!

    Dave, thanx for the tip about photography. I tend to just find things in the field, but I'll try your idea should the sun ever deign to re-appear...

    I've now come across another website called ukflymines which hopefully will also help.



  4. I've photographed leaves against a window as Dave suggests, but also when out and about you can position the leaf so that the sky is a back light, essentially the same as using the window method.

  5. Of course the sky works well; but the problem can be that the tiny movements of even the gentlest breeze can take the leaf in and out of focus, and focussing is a pretty exact requirement when you're going in close.

  6. Regarding Phyllonorycter blancardella and Phyllonorycter hostis, Andy, I reared through some mines of these species from hedgerow apple leaves collected near Chilton (local to here) and near Olney (N.Bucks) last October. They mines all looked the same to me. When the adults emerged it appeared that I had both species (both are quite similar but hostis is a bit smarter-looking). Examples sent to Peter for dissection confirmed this to be the case, the same tree at Chilton producing both blancardella and hostis.

    1. Yes, and, in addition to that, rearing moths from over-wintering juveniles is also tricky. I've managed blancardella so far, but not hostis. Also they are fairly tricky to dissect and similar (but not identical) in genitalia if you succeed (Peter may disagree with me on this, but he's in the Dissection Premier League).
      Leaf-miners can be rewarding but there can be a challenge or two.
      On the subject of websites, Dave (Morris) do try the Dutch website (in the 'links' tab on British Leaf-miners) which, if you scroll down the pages, is in excellent English as well as (not unreasonably) Dutch. It is the most comprehensive of the lot. Andy.

  7. I've added a comparison image onto the Dissection website, based on Mr Wiltons moths.
    and the essential part that shows the difference is highlighted with arrows.


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