Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Rhinusa algirica parasite, introduction

Rhinusa algirica (Brisout de Barneville, 1867) on Scrophularia host plants Scrophulariaceae, monophagous Scrophularia canina. distribution within Europe (PESI, 2020). references Baviera & Caldara (2020a), Caldara (2014a).

Fungi introduction

Traditionally rust and smut fungi (Pucciniomycotina and Ustilaginomycotina) are considered gall causers, but only as far as they cause conspicuous swellings of plant parts. By this limitation an arbitrary division is created in the rusts, that does no justice to their biological importance. Even more arbitrary is the admission of a small part of powdery […]

Ecology introduction

Ecology trends A general trend is that mines of Agromyzidae -by far the most important group of miners among the Diptera- mainly occur on herbaceous plants, while Lepidoptera miners in large majority are to be found on woody plants. Perhaps this preference among the Lepidoptera explains the observation by Klimesch (1957a) that in Austria mining […]

Acarodomatia introduction

Acarodomatia The word acarodomatium means something akin to ‘house for mites’. The term is used for structures in plant leaves that seem to have been developed to enable mites to withdraw, or even establish. The best known acarodomatia are the hair bundles in the axils of lateral veins, like for instance in Lime. Thick veins […]

To be a miner introduction

To be a miner To really understand the life of an animal, or even a plant, it is necessary to virtually put oneself into the position of that organism, in as much detail possible. It requires some phantasy, but is quite enlighting. narrowness Thereis little to be seen in a mine: many larvae have no, […]

Location in the leaf introduction

Location in the leaf Obviously, the position of the mine in the leaf blade is primarily determined by the oviposition behaviour of the female insect. The oviposiiton site is quite constant in many cases. Often it is the leaf margin, or the egg is placed immediately next to the midrib. Less often the oviposition site […]

History introduction

A bit of history Many mines are all but inconspicuous, and it is almost certain that also in former time sometimes they must have attracted attention. Nevertheless, the first written reference to mines of which I am aware is of a relatively recent date. 1681 Johann Christoph Beckmann publishes a booklet of just 18 pagina’s […]

Parasitoids introduction

Parasitoids By far the most important mortality factor are parasitoides. Very commonly, when opening a mine, one can encounter a parastoid larva that is succking the liquified contents of its host. It is impressive to see how an, often quite small, parasitoid, has overpowered its victim that is almost motionless and has its colour and […]

Mines introduction, top level

Mines leafmines During their stay in the mine larvae grow, forcing the mines to become wider and larger. In most cases the excrements remain in the mine, as characteristic grains or strings. Often also moulting and pupation takes place within the mine. In other cases the full grown larva makes an exit slit in the […]

Frass introduction

Frass The most characteristic result of the presence of the larve in the mine are its excrements. Only in old, long vacated mines rain may have washed out the frass; the mines then generally look whitish. And of course, there is a rather small number of mines from which the frass is ejected. The colour […]

Shape: fleck mines introduction

Shape: fleck mines fleck mines More or less round mines, with a diameter of mostly not more than a centimeter, having in their centre, in upper or lower epidermis, a small hole. Most mines of this type are made by the Lepidoptera family Coleophoridae. The larvae of this group live in a case, in which […]

Shape introduction

Shape corridor mines When a larve eats onty the leaf tissue right in front of its head the result is a narrow tunnel. In extreme caes, when the larva makes no lateral head movements, the tunnel remains just wide enough to accomodate the growing larva. Mines that remain that narrow are uncommon; examples are the […]

Introduction introduction

Introduction Living plants are to food of an endless variety of organisms. When this concerns vertebrate animals this can be called macro-herbivory, and there usually hardly exists a recognisable relation between plant and grazer. This is different for the innumerable small organisms (insects, mites, nematodes, fungi etc.) the feed and damages living plants. Between plants […]

Practical introduction

Practical collecting and storing For collecting in the field little more is needed than a really good magnifying lens and a fair number of small plasic bags. It is a good idea to include a flower or another characteristic plant part along with the mine, to remember at home the plant species the mine was […]

Galls introduction

It is not a big step from leafminers to gall makers; Cystiphora-‘mines’ for instance are a typical border case. Moreover, when searching for leafmines one often encounters galls. Therefore some space is made available in this site for galls and gall makers. Mainly for microphotos, because normal pictures are widely available on the internet and […]

Egg introduction

Egg oviposition within the leaf Flies of the family Agromyzidae, sawflies, and some moths deposit their eggs inside the plant tissue, below the epidermis. This requires the possession of an ovipositor. Around tne place of the puncture the leaf tissue may react by swelling and discolouring: an oviposition scar. Chromatomyia syngenesiae on Dandelion: oviposition scar […]

Conventions and limitations introduction

which region? The site covers all Europe, i.e. including European Russia and the Ukraine, Macaronesia, the Mediterranean Islands, the Greek Islands, Cyprus and Turkey. North Africa and the Levant are not within its scope, and are treated only marginally. which parasites species? All plant parasites whose activities induce a more or less specific, externally recognisable, […]

Shape: blotch mines introduction

Shape: blotch mines blotch mines When a larva has the opportunity to eat away the leaf tissue in all directions, the result is a more or less circular bladder, a blotch mine. However, a blotch may also result when the loops of a corridor mine are so strongly convoluted that the walls separating them are […]

Full depth mines introduction

Full depth mines Full depth mines are easily recognisable because, when held against the light, they are transparant, without a green tinge – at the place of te mine all parenchyma has been eaten away. “Full depth” is not beautiful English, but it is the best phrase available. The Dutch “voldiep” is certainly no better. […]

Upper- of lower-surface introduction

Upper- of lower-surface Mines that are visible only at the upper or lower surface of a leaf are, exceptions apart, either tentiform mines, or mines made by larvae of the fly family Agromyzidae. upper-surface In upper-surface mines the palissade parenchyma has been eaten away. Because of the whitish upperside they are easy to find. Phytomyza […]

Cocoon introduction

Cocoon cocoon In the pupal stage insect larvae are virtutally immovable and defenseless. Many species therefore make, before construct a protective cocoon before they undergo the moult that leads to the pupa or puparium. Some leaf miners too sometimes make a cocoon; not alwys within the mine, but when this happens it is a valuable […]

Food specialisation introduction

Food specialisation secondary plant compounds Everyone who sometimes identifies a plant knows how different they are in taste and smell. Each species has its own bouquet. This bouquet doesn’t exist to please us; together with resins, phenolics, latex and countless other chemical substances, collectively known as secondary compounds, their biological functions its to make the […]

Pseudomines introduction

Pseudomines In the field it sometimes is not easy at all to distinguish real mines from other damage to the leaves. The variation in these ‘pseudomines’ is endless, but two types can fairly easily be singled out. window feeding Window feeding means that a larva has been eating away all leaf tissue at one side […]

Pupa introduction

Pupa One of the questions that is most often asked in keys to leaf miners is wether pupation os outside the mine or not. There are but a very few species that sometimes pupate within the mine, another time outside. To answer the question itmis advisalbe to collect ample material in the field. When, upon […]

Openings in the mine introduction

exit slit Each mine must at some moment be vacated by its occupant. The opening that is made then often has a very constant shape. In those Agromyzidae species where the mine is left prior to pupation, the larvae make neat semicircular exit slit in the epidermis. Agromyza alnivora on Alder: exit slit upper- or […]

Predators introduction

Predators birds Obviously large larvae, like those of mining sawflies, must be an attractive prey for insectivorous birds. This was testified by Heterarthrus nemoratus; this species was around 1920 inadvertently introduced from Europe into the United States, and built up immense populations in a relatively short time. Around 50% of the larvae were eaten then […]

Plant defence introduction

Plant defence leaf abscission Mining larvae perish when their leaf wilts or is absconded prermaturely. It has been found in several studies that mined leaves are earlier to fall than unmined ones, but is does not seem plausible that this is a defense mechanism of the plant (Faeth, Connor & Simberloff, 1981a; James & Pritchard, […]

Larvae introduction

Larvae The larvae of the four main groups of leaf miners -Diptera, Hymenoptera, Lepidoptera, and Coleoptera- generally are not difficult to tell apart Diptera Mining fly larvae always are maggots: more or less spindle-shaped, feet and eyeless beings without an apparant head. As a matter of fact, the head is strongly reduced and withdrawn into […]

Depth of the mine introduction

Depth of the mine Miners can utilise the full thickness of the leaf, or limit themselves to just one of the layers of a leaf. This has everything to do with leaf anatomy. The illustration below shows a transverse section though a typical leaf, that of Beech (after Strasburger, 1958). From the top down one […]

Pests introduction

Pests Onder natuurlijke omstandigheden hebben mineerders meestal nauwelijks enig effect op hun waardplanten. Maar wanneer planten in cultuur worden genomen, en groeien onder onnatuurlijke omstandigheden, vaak ook in monocultures, kunnen mineerders in zulke aantallen op gaan treden dat er wel degelijk sprake is van schade. Under natural circumstances leafminers don not have any serious deleterious […]