Plant Parasites of Europe

leafminers, galls and fungi

Phytomyza autumnalis

Phytomyza autumnalis Hering, 1957

on Asteraceae

Phytomyza autumnalis: mine on Cirsium arvense

Cirsium arvense, UK, Norfolk, Downham Market, 20.x.2017 © Rob Edmunds

Phytomyza autumnalis: mine on Cirsium arvense

another specimen

Phytomyza autumnalis: mine on Cirsium arvense

frass pattern

Phytomyza autumnalis: puparium in mine

puparium in the mine

Phytomyza autumnalis: puparium

puparium dorsal view; note the large conical bases

Phytomyza autumnalis: puparium

puparium ventral view


Branched, upper-surface corridor, with very irregular sides. Frass in isolated grains, maximally only 4 times their diameter apart. Pupation within the mine.

hos tplants

Asteraceae, oligophagous

Centaurea nigra, scabiosa; Cirsium arvense, oleraceum; Cyanus montanus; Onopordum acanthium.


Larvae only as late as October-November (Hering, 1957a).


Not known from the Benelux countries (Fauna Europaea, 2008).

distribution within Europe

Ireland, the UK, Germany, Poland, Moldavia (Fauna Europaea, 2008); also Austria (von Tschirnhaus, 1982a).



Opaque, metallic black, in a pupal chamber (Griffiths, 1959a); the anterior spiracula penetrate the epidermis (Hering, 1957a).


Hering (1957b) described this species, as “Phytomya autumnalis Griffiths”, living on Centaurea and Onopordum. Although his description was short, and based solely on the mine and and puparium, it is an available one in nomenclatural sense. Two years later Griffiths’ description appeared of “Phytomya autumnalis n.sp.” from Centaurea nigra and Onopordum acanthium. The way Hering spelled the species name demonstrates that Griffiths’s name is an invalid objective synonym.

Currently it is well known that the Cirsium miner Phytomyza affinis is an invalid synonym of Ph. spinaciae, but this was different in the sixties and seventies. At that time is often was suspected that affinis were a synonym of autumnalis. Records of autumnalis from Cirsium of that period therefore are not reliable.
In fact, the confusion was much older: de Meijere (1926a), while describing “Phytomza affinis” on Cirsium arvense mentions on 18 October black puparia (autumnalis) and on 15-20 July white puparia (spinaciae). Nowakowski (1962b) draw the logical but incorrect conclusion that the two puparium forms derived from seasonal dimorphism, and therefore synonymised autumnalis with “affinis”.


Beiger (1970a, 1979a), Dreger & Myssura (2005a), Griffiths (1959a), Hering (1957a,b), de Meijere (1926a), Michalska (1970a, 1972a, 1976a), Nowakowski (1962b), Robbins (1991a), Spencer (1972a), von Tschirnhaus (1982a, 1999a).

Last modified 9.xii.2020