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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Cystiphora sonchi (Vallot, 1827)
[Diptera: Cecidomyiidae]

Cystiphora sonchi (Vallot, 1827)

Leaf-mine: Circular, lower-surface blotch, about 5 mm in diameter, often quite a number together on a leaf. Upper surface wart-like, strongly reddish discoloured, opaque. At the lower surface the mine is closed only by the epidermis. The larva is easily visible, as is its food: drops of cell sap that oozes into the mine. Pupation sometimes in the mine, sometimes in the soil. (Bladmineerders van Europa).

The blotches are also illustrated in British Leafminers.

Larva: The larvae of flies 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.

Initially white, later yellowish ( Bladmineerders van Europa).

Puparium: The puparia of flies are 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).

Hosts in Great Britain & Ireland: Sonchus arvensis (Corn Sow-thistle), S. oleraceus (Smooth Sow-thistle), S.asper (Rough Sow-thistle)

Sonchus arvensis Pernnial or Corn Sowthirstle British Wild Flowers British leafminers
Sonchus asper Prickly Sowthistle British Wild Flowers British leafminers
Sonchus oleraceus Rough Sowthistle British Wild Flowers British leafminers

Hosts elsewhere:

Sonchus arvensis Perennial or Corn Sowthistle British Wild Flowers Bladmineerders van Europa
Sonchus asper Prickly Sowthistle British Wild Flowers Bladmineerders van Europa
Sonchus asper subsp. glaucescens     Bladmineerders van Europa
Sonchus asper subsp. oleraceus     Bladmineerders van Europa
Sonchus asper subsp. tenerrimus     Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - mines: Larvae from July on (Hering, 1957a); two or more generations per year, pupation of the summer generation(s) in the galls, pupation of the winter generation in the soil (Bayram, Skuhravá & Çobanoğlu (2005a) ( Bladmineerders van Europa).

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain & Ireland: Widespread including Cambridgeshire, Durham, East Norfolk, East Suffolk, Fife, Glamorgan, Leicestershire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Lancashir, South-east Yorkshire, South-west Yorkshire, West Norfolk and West Suffolk (NBN Atlas).

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denish mainland, Finland, French mainland, Germany, Hungary, Italian mainland, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Spanish mainland, Sweden, Switerland, The Netherlands, Ukraine, and Yugoslavia (Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Sonchus arvensis, Sonchus asper

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere: Currently unknown

External links: Search the internet:
Biodiversity Heritage Library
Bladmineerders van Europa
British leafminers
Encyclopedia of Life
Fauna Europaea
NBN Atlas
NHM UK Checklist
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