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


Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, 1846
[Diptera: Agromyzidae]

Holly Leaf-miner

Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, 1846. Gardeners Chronicle 1846 (July 4): 444
Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, 1846; Hendel, 1935. Fliegen palaearkt. Reg. 6(2): 417
Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, 1846; Spencer, 1972b. Handbk ident. Br. Ins. 10(5g): 2, 71, 81, 95, 109
Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, 1846; Spencer, 1976. Fauna ent. Scand. 5(1): 433-4, fig. 756.
Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, 1846; Spencer, 1990. Host specialization in the World Agromyzidae (Diptera) : 144 (figs 541-2), 145, 154, 156
Phytomyza ilicis Curtis, 1846; Ellis, 2000. Ent. Berich. 60: 165-170.

Leaf-mine: Oviposition takes place at the base of the petiole in a young leaf. Larva initially feeds in mid-rib, later producing characteristic irregular upper surface linear-blotch. Pupation internal (Spencer, 1972b: 81; Spencer, 1976: 433-4).

Oviposition, in May-June, in the underside of the petiole or midrib of a young leaf, leaves a clear scar. In the course of the following months the larva tunnels in the midrib in the direction of the leaf tip. Only in December-January it enters the leaf blade, where the fist moult takes place. The larva then makes an interparenchymatous blotch in the blade, in the middle layer of the (three cell layers thick) palisade parenchyma. Most frass is deposited in the centre of the blotch; here the epidermis often turns wine red. Often tha larva, not long before pupation, descends into the upper layers of the sponge parenchyma, and makes a large blotch there. This second mine, despite its size, is quite inconspicuous because there is no discolouration whatever. Pupation is within the mine, upper-surface, but lower-surface when a second blotch has been made. The anterior spiracles penetrate the epidermis (Bladmineerders van Europa).

Initially in mid-rib then upper surface blotch. Only miner on Holly. Widespread throughout. The early mine is green (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.

The larva is described by de Meijere (1926) and Dempewolf (2001: 189). The larva is illustrated in 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).

The puparium is illustrated in Bladmineerders van Europa and British leafminers.

Hosts in Great Britain and Ireland:

Ilex       Robbins, 1991: 40
Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bland, 1994
Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. British leafminers
Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Mines in BMNH
Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1972b: 109

Hosts elsewhere:

Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Bladmineerders van Europa
Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1976: 433
Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Spencer, 1990: 154
Ilex aquifolium Holly British Wild Flowers by John Somerville et al. Dempewolf, 2001: 189

Time of year - mines: April-November.

Time of year - adults: A single generation each year.

Distribution in Great Britain and Ireland: Widespread throughout Britain including Anglesey, Ayrshire, Bedfordshire, Berwickshir, Breconshire, Buckinghamshire, Caernarvonshire, Cambridgeshire, Cardiganshire, Carmarthenshire, Cheshire, Cumberland, Denbighshire, Derbyshire, Dorset, Dumfriesshire, Dunbartonshire, Durham, East Cornwall, East Gloucestershire, East Norfolk, East Ross, East Suffolk, East Sussex, East Sutherland, Easterness, Edinburgh, Elgin, Fifeshire, Flintshire, Glamorgan, Haddington, Hertfordshire, Isle of Wight, Kintyre, Lanarkshire, Leicestershire, Linlithgow, Main Argyll, Merionethshire, Mid Perthshire, Mid-west Yorkshire, Middlesex, Monmouthshire, North Ebudes, North Essex, North Somerset, North Wiltshire, North-east Yorkshire, North-west Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Outer Hebrides, Pembrokeshire, Radnorshire, Roxburgh, Shropshire, South Aberdeenshire, South Devon, South Essex, South Lancashire, South-west Yorkshire, Stafford, Surrey, Warwickshire, West Cornwall, West Gloucestershire, West Kent, West Lancashire, West Norfolk, West Perthshire, West Ross, West Suffolk, West Sussex, West Sutherland, Westerness, Westmorland and Worcestershire (NBN Atlas); Dunbartonshire (Spencer, 1972b: 81); Rum (Bland in Whiteley, 1994), Hampshire (Fleet) (British leafminers), Warwickshire (Tile Hill) (Robbins, 1991: 40).

Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland: Dublin and Co. Kerry (Spencer, 1972b) and National Biodiversity Data Centre Map).

NBN interactive distribution map(s) of known host species in Britain:

Ilex aquifolium

Distribution elsewhere: Widespread in continental Europe including Denmark, Norway, Sweden (Spencer, 1976: 433), The Netherlands, Luxembourg (Bladmineerders van Europa), Belgium (de Bruyn and von Tschirnhaus, 1991), Germany (Spencer, 1976: 574; Dempewolf, 2001: 189), Italian mainland, Sicily and Switzerland (Fauna Europaea).

Introduced into western Canada and the north-west U.S.A. (Spencer, 1976: 433).

British and Irish Parasitoids in Britain and elsewhere:

Achrysocharoides latreillii (Curtis 1826) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis gemma (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis nephereus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis pentheus (Walker, 1839) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Chrysocharis pubicornis (Zetterstedt, 1838) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Closterocerus trifasciatus Westwood, 1833 Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Pediobius metallicus (Nees, 1834) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Pediobius albipes (Provancher 1887) Eulophidae: Entedoninae
Pnigalio minio (Walker 1847) Eulophidae: Eulophinae
Cyrtogaster vulgaris Walker, 1833 Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Sphegigaster pallicornis (Spinola, 1808) Pteromalidae: Pteromalinae
Mauleus iligneus Heydon 1995 Pteromalidae: Miscogastrinae
Epiclerus nomocerus (Masi, 1934) Tetracampidae: Tetracampinae
Ichneumonoidea - Links to species no longer available  
Opius pulchriceps Sz├ępligeti 1898 Braconidae: Opiinae
Phaedrotoma pulchriceps (Sz├ępligeti, 1898) Braconidae: Opiinae

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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