Monday, 11 April 2016

Phyllonorycter ulicicolella

Steve and myself had a search for early-emerging day flyers last week at Hartlebury Common - I was keeping my eye out for leaf mines, namely those of Phyllonorycter ulicicolella.

After two and a half hours searching, this was the most promising candidate I found. There aren't many photographs to refer to, but I can't think of anything that would mine a Gorse needle in this way. Any opinions?

1 comment:

  1. I can't claim much experience with this species except for one mined needle found last year at around the same time and shown on this blog. I confirmed that one by finding frass just under the mined surface at the base of the needle. Later on, after I had given up any hope of an adult emerging, I found the dead larva (a typical Phyllonorycter) at the other end of the mine.
    Yours looks quite promising to me but one thing I did notice about mine was that the 'business end' of the mine, at the pointy end of the needle, ended with a neatly defined margin. That is, the pale area just under the epidermis, where the larva was eating fresh green stuff was, more or less, a clear edge. It is just visible in my photo. This was what convinced me in the field that this was internal feeding rather than some other kind of damage or colour variation. How consistent this is I don't know.
    If you don't want to risk breaking into the base of the mine looking for frass (I suppose it may be what killed my specimen) you could photograph the mine from the same angle again in a week or two and see if you can detect continued feeding.

    Do let us know if there is any progress.


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