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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COINCYA. Wallfower, Isle of Man and Lundy Cabbages. [Brassicaceae]

Four species and two subspecies of Coincya are recorded in Britain. These include Wallflower Cabbage (C. monensis ssp. cheiranthos, Isle of Man Cabbage (C. monensis ssp. monensis) and Lundy Cabbage (C. wrightii). The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for Brassicaceae.

Two British miners are recorded on Coincya.

Key for the identification of the known mines of British
insects (Diptera and non-Diptera) recorded on Coincya

1a > Leaf-miner: Corridor-blotch mine, normally dorsal; usually whitish; in small leaves it lies characteristically in the centre of the leaf often touching the petiole; in larger leaves it lies to one side of the mid-rib. Frass deposited in green clumps near the leaf margin. Pupation usually external, sometimes in a separate pupation mine.

Oviposition whitin the leaf, at the lower surface. The first part of the mine is a long, sometimes very long, corridor, that mostly will be overrun by the later developments. Generally this corridor is directed, frequently guided by a thick vein, to the midrib. The next section of the mine is large, irregular blotch overlying the basal section of the midrib. Locally large chunks of midrib tissue are consumed. From this central blotch excursions are made into the leaf blade: generally upper-surface, less often lower-surface and locally full-depth. In plants with narrow leaves, like Diplotaxis, the mine may occupy the entire width of the leaf. Often several larvae together in a mine. Frass blackish green, powdery, in clouds, sometimes along the sides of the corridors, later more in the periphery of the mine and in the end of extensions of the blotch, sometimes seemingly absent. (Often the frass can only be seen after the mine has been opened). Pupation generally in the ground, rarely within he leaf, in a short mine without frass. Hendel (1928a) described the biology, larva and puparium (Bladmineerders van Europa).

An initial narrow gallery then leads to a blotch on the midrib of the leaf (British leafminers).

Watch a video of a scaptomyzid fly larva on Arabidopsis on YouTube by mash92587.

Polyphagous. On numerous genera of Brassicaceae, Asteraceae, Papaveraceae, Resedaceae, Tropaeolaceae and Violaceae, including Alliaria, Barbarea, Brassica, Cheiranthus, Cochlearia, Coincyia, Conringia, Diplotaxis, ? Eruca, Erysimum, ? Hesperis. Lepidium, Matthiola, Raphanus, ? Rorippa and Sinapis in Britain. On additional genera of these families and Fabaceae elsewhere. Widespread, from Caithness in the north to Cornwall in the south of Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland, Europe, the East Palaearctic, Near East and Neartic Region.

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

1b > Leaf-miner: Mine linear, whitish, both upper and lower surface. Pupation internal, at the end of the mine with the anterior spiracles projecting through the epidermis (Spencer, 1976: 433).

Upper-surface, less often lower-surface corridor. Frass in isolated grains. Pupation within the mine, usually in a lower-surface puparial chamber (Bladmineerders van Europa).

A long whitish upper surface corridor, which eventually goes lower surface (British leafminers).

Two highly polyphagous species of Chromatomyia, with indistinguishable mines, have been recorded in Britain. These are syngenesiae (Hardy) and horticola (Goureau) which can only be distinguished by the male genitalia. Both species are widespread in Britain and elsewhere, although syngenesiae is almost entirely restricted to Asteraceae. Records on Asteraceae not based on examination of male genitalia are treated in this account as Chromatomyia 'atricornis'.

Chromatomyia horticola is recorded on 160 plant genera in 31 families of which 55 plant genera in 19 families, including Coincyia, in Britain.

Chromatomyia horticola (Goureau, 1851) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

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