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


ORCHIS. Orchids. [Orchidaceae]

Ten species of Orchis are recorded in Britain. These include the native Loose-flowered Orchid (O. laxiflora), Early-purple Orchid (O. mascula), Military Orchid (O. militaris), Green-winged Orchid (O. morio), Lady Orchid (O. purpurea), Monkey Orchid (O. simia) and Burnt Orchid (O. ustulata).

Early-purple Orchid (O. mascula), Military Orchid (O. militaris) and Monkey Orchid (O. simia) are protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981.

Green-winged Orchid (O. morio) is protected in Northern Ireland under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order, 1985.

Four British miners are recorded on Orchis.

A key to the European miners recorded on Dactylorhiza and Orchis is provided in Bladmineerders van Europa.

Early purple orchid - Orchis mascula. Image: © Brian Pitkin
Early purple orchid
Orchis mascula

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

1a > The larva first tunnels in the rootstock and the stem. From there long, untidily delineated corridors are made into the leaves. Pupation in the underground parts of the plant.

Hosts in Britain unknown. Elsewhere on Dactylorhiza, Goodyera and Orchis. Widespread in Britain. Also recorded from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Delina nigrita (Fallén, 1819) [Diptera: Scathophagidae].

1b > Leaf-miner: The mine begins as a fine corridor, descends into the leaf sheath or stem, re-enters from there a few more times in the blade. Pupation in the tuber. Ofen the inflorescence of infested plants will wilt.

On Cephalanthera damasonium, Epipactis helleborine, Epipactis purpurata, Neottia and Orchis in Britain. Elsewhere on Dactylorhiza, Epipactis, Himantoglossum and Orchis. Widespread in England and Wales. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Chyliza vittata Meigen, 1826 [Diptera: Psilidae].

1c > Leaf-miner: Large blotch with a group of some larvae. At the start of the mine a group of elliptic egg shells. Pupation outside the mine. The larvae in the blotch feed side-by-side in a line.

On Listera, but not yet on Orchis in Britain, but not common. On Cephalanthera, Cypripedium, Dactylorhiza, Epipactis, Gymnadenia, Ophrys and Orchis elsewhere. Widespread in Britain and continental Europe. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland and from the Nearctic region

Parallelomma vittatum (Hering, 1826) [Diptera: Scathophagidae].

1d > Leaf-miner: Rather narrow corridor, untidy and sometimes branched, starting from the base of the leaf, in particular the midrib. Sides of the corridor irregularly eaten out, not really parallel. Frass mostly present, and then in a central line. The larva is capable of leaving the mine and start a new one elsewhere. These later mines are much broader, and the frass is scattered irregularly..

Mine of Orthochaetes insignis on Prunella vulgaris
Mine of Orthochaetes insignis on Prunella vulgaris
Image: © Jean-Yves Baugnée (Bladmineerders van Europa)

Host plants unknown in Britain. On numerous genera and species in several plant families, including Dactylorhiza and Orchis elsewhere. Recorded in southern England. Widespread in continental Europe.

Orthochaetes insignis (Aube, 1863) [Coleoptera: Curculionidae].

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