YNU member Barry Warrington has recently set up a new national recording scheme for the Agromyzidae, leaf-mining flies.
The Agromyzidae are a large family with approximately 400 species recorded in the UK. The majority of species feed within the leaves of plants, often making distinctive patterns – commonly referred to leafmines - which, combined with how the larva deposits its frass, is often unique to a particular species.
The adult flies are very small and some can only be identified by examining the male genitalia. However, some species can be readily indentified by considering the host plant, shape of the mine, frass pattern and pupal features. Gardens are a fantastic place to find leaf-mining flies, due to the wide range of host plants available. Mines can generally be found throughout the year, with the peak-time being May to August.
There is still so much we don’t know about Agromyzidae - this recording scheme has been set up to help gain a much greater understanding of the family, in terms of population and distribution trends, host plants and lifestyle. In addition to running the national scheme and collating records from all over the UK, Barry is also the YNU recorder for this family and welcomes records from experts and novices alike.
A website for the scheme is currently under development. You can also find further information on the Biological Records Centre website here.
Mine of Phytomyza minuscula on Aquilegia Mine of Liriomyza strigata on Sow-thistle
All photos by Barry Warrington.
(17th December 2016)