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


EQUISETUM. Horsetails. [Equisetaceae]

Nine species of Equisetum are recorded in Britain. These include the native Field Horsetail (E. arvense), Water Horsetail (E. fluviatile), Rough Horsetail (E. hyemale), Marsh Horsetail (E. palustre), Shady Horsetail (E. pratense), Branched Horsetail (E. ramosissimum), Wood Horsetail (E. sylvaticum), Great Horsetail (E. telmateia) and Variegated Horsetail (E. variegatum). The BSBI provide a downloadable plant crib for Equisetum.

Branched Horsetail (E. ramosissimum) is protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Three British miners are recorded on Equisetum.

Field Horsetail - Equisetum arvense. Image: © Brian Pitkin
Field Horsetail
Equisetum arvense

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

1a > Leaf-miner: Larva mining the narrow branches, not the stem. Pupation external (Spencer, 1976: 259).

On Equisetum arvense in Britain and elsewhere. Uncommon in Britain - Herts and London. Widespread in continental Europe

Liriomyza occipitalis Hendel, 1931 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1b > Stem mine.


2a > Stem mine:Larva forms an external stem mine which quickly turns black. Pupation internal, puparium projecting out of mine (Spencer, 1972b: 52; Spencer, 1976: 276).

On Equisetum fluviatile in Britain and Equisetum arvense and Equisetum fluviatile elsewhere. Widespread in northern Britain - Stafford, Banff, Easterness and Elgin. Widespread in northern Europe. Also recorded in Alaska.

Liriomyza virgo (Zetterstedt, 1838) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

2b > Stem mine: Larva mining the stem. Pupation external. Puparium brown

On Equisetum arvense and Equisetum fluviatile in Britain and elsewhere. Uncommon in Britain - Herts and Warwick. Also recorded in continental Europe and North America.

Liriomyza equiseti Meijere, 1924 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

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