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


VALERIANELLA. Cornsalads. [Valerianaceae]

Nine species of Valerianella are recorded in Britain. These include the native Keel-fruited Cornsalad (V. carinata), Narrow-fruited Cornsalad (V. dentata), Common Cornsalad (V. locusta) and Broad-fruited Cornsalad (V. rimosa).

Four British miners are recorded on Valerianella.

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

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

1a > Leaf-miner: A distinctive mine primarily above mid-rib, with irregular short lateral offshoots into leaf blade. Pupation external (Spencer, 1972: 51 (fig. 172), 55; Spencer, 1976: 270, 271 (fig. 486)).

Branched, whitish, upper-surface corridor; main axis overlying the midrib; side branches overlying the main lateral veins. (In Campanula and Phyteuma the mine is much less branched, sometimes nothing more than a corridor on top of the midrib). Frass in rather long strings. Usually the mines begins as a long and narrow, shallow, tortuous lower-surface corridor that ends upon the midrib but otherwise is not associated with the leaf venation. Often this initial corridor is filled with callus, and then even less conspicuous. Pupation outside the mine.

A linear mine on the upper surface, usually following the midrib and showing side branches along the veins. The frass is in strings.

Polyphagous. On more than 40 host genera in 15 families in Britain including Centranthus, Valeriana, but not yet on Valerianella. Widespread throughout Britain. Also recorded in the Republic of Ireland. Widespread in continental Europe.

Liriomyza strigata (Meigen, 1830) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

1b > 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 Valerianella, elsewhere. Recorded in southern England. Widespread in continental Europe.

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

1d > Leaf-miner: Mine not primarily associated with mid-rib.


2a > Leaf-miner: Mine linear, whitish, both upper and lower surface. Pupation internal, at the end of the mine with the anterior spiracles projecting through the epidermis (Spencer, 1976: 433).

Upper-surface, less often lower-surface corridor. Frass in isolated grains. Pupation within the mine, usually in a lower-surface puparial chamber.

A long whitish upper surface corridor, which eventually goes lower surface.

Two highly polyphagous species of Chromatomyia, with indistinguishable mines, have been recorded in Britain. These are syngenesiae (Hardy) and horticola (Goureau) which can only be distinguished by the male genitalia. Both species are widespread in Britain and elsewhere, although syngenesiae is almost entirely restricted to Asteraceae. Records on Asteraceae not based on examination of male genitalia are treated in this account as Chromatomyia 'atricornis'.

Chromatomyia horticola is recorded on 160 plant genera in 31 families, of which 55 plant genera in 19 families, including Centranthus and Valeriana, but not yet on Valerianella, in Britain. On Centranthus, Valeriana and Valerianella elsewhere.

Chromatomyia horticola (Goureau, 1851) [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

2b > Leaf-miner: An irregular linear mine, which frequently follows the leaf margin, with conspicuous black frass (Spencer, 1972b: 51 (fig.162), 54; Spencer, 1976: 275).

Corridor, often quite contorted, not infrequently a secondary blotch. Frass in strikingly long strings. Pupation outside the mine.

On ? Centranthus, Valeriana and ? Valerianella in Britain and Centranthus, Valeriana and Valerianella elsewhere. Widespread in continental Europe.

Liriomyza valerianae Hendel, 1932 [Diptera: Agromyzidae].

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