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


MELISSA. Balm. [Lamiaceae]

Only one species of Melissa is recorded in Britain, the introduced Balm (M. officinalis).

Two British miners are recorded on Melissa.

A key to the European miners recorded on Melissa is provided in Bladmineerders van Europa.

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

1a > Leaf-miner and case-bearer: Blotch mines reaching the edge of the leaf, initially pale green turning brownish white, are caused by the larva feeding on the underside of a leaf. The fully developed case is slender, shining black brown, about 9 mm long. Towards the end a narrow, transparent yellowish ventral keel. Mouth angle 50-60°. Cases on the leaf underside.

On Calamintha, Clinopodium, Glechoma, ? Lycopus, Mentha, Nepeta, Origanum, Prunella, Salvia, Stachys and Thymus, but not yet on Melissa, in Britain plus Melissa, Melittis and Satureja but not Calamintha elsewhere. Throughout England and Wales and a few places in Scotland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Coleophora albitarsella Zeller, 1849 [Lepidoptera: Coleophoridae].

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

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

1c > Leaf-miner: An irregularly linear mine which may become a secondary blotch. Pupation normally external, but not infrequently the puparium remains in the leaf at the prepared exit slit (Spencer, 1972b: 86 (fig. 289), 88; Spencer, 1976: 467 (fig. 822, 468).

Upper-surface corridor, often branched and crossing itself, but not forming a secondary blotch. Frass mainly in thread fragments. Pupaption generally outside the mine. Sometimes pupation occurs within the mine, near the lower epidermis, but then already an exit slit has been made, and the spiracula do not penetrate the epidermis (Hering, 1924a, 1957a).

An irregular linear mine formed, commonly on garden mints. A secondary blotch may be formed.

On Mentha, but not yet on Melissa, in Britain. Probably not uncommon in Britain. Widespread in continental Europe.

Phytomyza petoei Hering, 1924 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].


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