The curious case of

the bird droppings that are not.

When I saw this I thought “bird poo”. Obvious really.untitled-3

Then I realised that virtually every leaf had the same mark. What a talented bird, I thought. So consistent. Of course the penny dropped quickly enough and I deduced they are leaf mines. As they are on Holly, Ilex aquifolium, I looked up Holly in my book on Micro Moths but failed to find anything similar.

By the wonder of googling “leaf mine holly” I unearthed a creature called rather unoriginally “Holly Leaf Miner”. And it is not a moth but a fly, Phytomyza ilicis. Diptera not Lepidoptera. I shall have to wait until June to see a fly emerge. I can hardly wait.

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16 thoughts on “The curious case of

  1. Very interesting. I would like to see the leaves again in May just to see what the leaf miners do to them. Maybe a project to try for myself, inspirational stuff 🙂

  2. I’ve not found any miners on the leaves in the yard here. Probably haven’t looked hard enough. I’ve always left things where I found them so missed the ones I found elsewhere making good their escape. Good luck with yours…looking forward to the emerging images.

  3. it might be be disfiguring for the plant but at least leaf miners don’t cause a whole lot of damage. Well,not to the trees where I’ve seen these here. Just a big ugly but on one needs a perfect plant specimen. That’s a good looking hooly by the way. do you have a lot of shrubs?

  4. I’ve been mined! 😨
    They aren’t really too destructive, however they can look bad on an evergreen leaf. Smash the lil guy with your fingers in the leaf. I’m not sure of your seasons, but here they hatch out mid-May. You can spray with horticultural soap when you see them hatch for 2 weeks while they are laying eggs. That is your only window for sprays. Destroy all leaf litter under plant. Do not compost.

  5. As I was learning the plants of the prairie, I learned that some plants are always accompanied by a leaf miner and just don’t look right without the tell-tale tracings on their leaves. I didn’t realize I even thought that until I saw a specimen at a Botanic Garden, sans miner, and puzzled over what was wrong with the plant!

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