Tuesday, 17 February 2015

More Woodiana

Since I can't post photos in a 'comment'...


Weevil mine in Viscum
Tony and I spent some time last year surveying old orchards for this species and managed to put a few more dots on the map. There is one record from 'Worcester City' in 1980  and a vague old reference in Bradley to a record from Droitwich. These are isolated by some distance from the rest of the records which are to the south and east.

While looking for this species last year we did establish that a weevil, most likely Ixapion variegatum which normally feeds in the stems, can on occasion mine a leaf. The larvae are creamy white, c shaped and lethargic compared to woodiana larvae which are green. My photo shows such a mine. In this one the initial frass filled track has been absorbed into the developing blotch. Looking at your photos, I wonder if your mine might belong to one of these weevils although it is hard to tell from the photo and I am certainly not sure. If the larva tends to appear c shaped and pale I suspect that is what it is. If it is mobile and not permanently curled up then you probably have woodiana. I would not be surprised if early instars are not the bright green they end up being later on.

The moths we bred last year were from much more mature mines found in early May, at which time they are near full fed. I suspect keeping such an early one alive would be a challenge although you can keep mistletoe looking reasonably fresh for some time standing it in water.

One thing to do is revisit the trees a little later in the season, say from mid April, when woodiana mines will be much larger and the larvae easy to confirm. In the meantime you might give Tony a shout let him have a look at your mine.


  1. Massive thanks for that information, Oliver. I had tried to search for any possible mistletoe-mining insects, but had completely brushed passed the weevil. I have a feeling you may be right and that it is an early stage of a weevil larvae, but I'll give it a proper examination tomorrow and report back.

    Interesting stuff either way - I never considered there to be such a convincing confusion species for C. woodiana on Mistletoe!

    All the best,


    1. There is still some work to be done on this I think - it may be that many of the empty mines found in Jan and Feb are not safe to record as woodiana.

      If it is a weevil, do try and keep it alive - it would be very useful to rear one through to see if it is the same beast that leaves exit holes in the junction between two leaf stalks.
      My one from last year stopped feeding and eventually died. We will look out for more this year when we continue with the surveys.

  2. and then maybe update UK Leafmines too?


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