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


ACONITUM. Monkshood. [Ranunculaceae]

Three or four species of Aconitum are recorded in Britain.These include the native Monkshood (A. napellus) and the alien Wolf's-bane (A. lycoctonum). The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for Aconitum.

Two British miners are recorded on Acontium.

A key to European mines on Aconitum is provided in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Monk's Hood - Aconitum napellus
Monk's Hood
Aconitum napellus

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

1a > Leaf-miner: Larvae feeding communally, as many as six together, forming large blackish blotch (Spencer, 1972b: 77).

Large, greyish-brown, upper-surface blotch, mostly near the tip of a leaflet, without a preceding corridor. Primary feeding lines conspicuous. Several larvae share a mine. Pupation outside the mine. Exit slit in upper epidermis (Pakalniskis, 2004a).

The mine is illustrated in British Leafminers.

On Aconitum and Delphinium in Britain and elsewhere. Widespread in gardens in Britain and elsewhere. Also recorded in the eastern U.S.A. and Canada

Phytomyza aconiti Hendel, 1920 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: In the first instar the larva mines the leaves, forming short, irregular, blotch-like mines, but in later instars it lives externally, feeding in spun leaves and often twisting those of tender shoots. Larval head light-brown or yellowish brown, edged with black postero-laterally, ocellar area blackish; prothoracic plate black edged with whitish anteriorly; abdomen dull dark green; pinacula distinct, black, sometimes brownish but with black bases to setae; anal plate large, black (Bradley et al., 1973).

Small, full depth mine without a definite shape; little frass. Some silk is deposited in the mine. The larva soon leaves the mine and continues feeding among spun leaves.

Polyphagous. On numerous genera and species of plant families, but not yet on Aconitum, in Britain. On numerous genera and species of plant families including Aconitum and Delphinium elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded from the Channel Is.

Cnephasia incertana (Treitschke, 1835) [Lepidoptera: Tortricidae].

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