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


Botanophila fugax (Meigen, 1826)
[Diptera: Anthomyiidae]

Anthomyia fugax Meigen, 1826. Syst. Beschr. 5: 174
Anthomyia melaneura Meigen, 1826. Syst. Beschr. 5: 174
Chortophila pudica Rondani, 1866. Atti. Soc. ital. Sci. nat. Milano 9: 173
Aricia betae Holmgren, 1880. Ent. Tidskr. 2: 89.
Botanophila fugax (Meigen, 1826).

Stem-borer: Larva feeding in stems and buds (Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227).

Elongated-oval eggs are deposited at either side of the leaf. They have irregularly keeled ribs running from one pole to the other (Miles, 1952, 1953).

The larva primarily lives as a borer in stem and petioles, but is capable of making corridor-like excursions in the lamina (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Although previously recorded as a miner in stems of Sambucus, Botanophila fugax is a common saprophagous species, the larvae normally feeding in the soil (Griffiths, pers. comm.).

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.

The larva is described by Miles (1952).

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).

Comments: Ackland in Chandler (1978) did not indicate whether his host records were British or Foreign and are therefore tentatively included under 'Hosts in Britain' and 'Hosts elsewhere'.

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:


? Sambucus (stems)

      Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227
? Dianthus (stems)       Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227
? Spinacia (stems)       Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227
? Meconopsis (buds)       Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227

Hosts elsewhere:

? Sambucus (stems)       Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227
? Dianthus (stems)       Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227
Beta       Hering, 1957
Chenopodium (stems)       Needham et al.
? Spinacia (stems)       Ackland in Chandler, 1978: 227
Spinacia oleracea Spinach   Bladmineerders van Europa

Time of year - larvae: Currently unknown.

Time of year - adults: Currently unknown.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread in Britain including Anglesey, Berkshire, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Cheshire, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Dorset, East Gloucestershire, East Kent, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, East Sussex, East Sutherland, Easterness, Elgin, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Hertfordshire, Huntingdonshire, Leicestershire, Main Argyll, Merionethshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Monmouthshire, Montgomeryshire, North Devon, North Ebudes, North Esex, North Northumberland, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, North-east Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Pembrokeshire, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Essex, South Lancashire, South Somerset, South Wiltshire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Suffolk, West Sussex, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland (Michelsen in Fauna Europaea).

Distribution elsewhere: Europe (Hering, 1957) including The Netherlands and Belgium (Gosseries and Ackland, 1991; de Meijere, 1939), Austria, Corsica, Denmark, Faroe Is., Finland, French mainland, Germany, Greek mainland, Hungary, Iceland, Italian mainland, Norwegian mainland, Poland, Russia (Central, Northwest and North), Slovakia, Sweden and Switzerland (Michelsen in Fauna Europaea).

NBN Atlas links to known host species:

Spinacia oleracea

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Phaenocarpa ruficeps (Nees, 1812) Braconidae: Alysiinae

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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