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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Mines on the Coalfield - leaf mines, that is!

I have had little chance over the last few days, due to work and other tasks, to do any mothing or other natural history `jollies`, but I have been able to do some evening reading, including old editions of the enjoyable and informative Glamorgan Moth Recording Group Newsletter. One early issue, No.20 (May 1998), has an article by Dave Slade about leaf mines - `In the Field with Maitland Emmet`, which summarised  a day out around Cardiff with the late, well-known lepidopterist in October 1997. They made many good records, including several new, second or third Welsh records and no less than 60 species new to Dave! Hence a minor upsurge in my interest!
This particular blog does not include any moth photos, just mostly unidentified leaf mines on a range of deciduous trees so, if leaf mines do not interest you, please ignore this blog! Any names given below are NOT firm or definitive - I`m just recently started on leaf mines and anyone wishing to correct names or suggest others are really welcome! I`m sure that I`m `off the track` with some!
Most of the leaves were collected yesterday on the old Cilymaenllwyd estate lands near my home at Pwll, with a few others (plane and cherry) coming from a brief visit to Llanelli this afternoon.

Below: Fagus (beech) from Cilymaenllwyd: In the second photo, note the `squiggle` leaf mine. Perhaps a Stigmella?, but also other leaf mine types present too - see photos.

Below: Carpinus (hornbeam) from Cilymaenllwyd. Hornbeam is a rarely-planted tree in Carmarthenshire, so there cannot be many leaf-mine records from this tree in the county!

Below: some Ulmus (elm) mines from two elm taxa, the first one at Cilymaenllwyd being wych elm U.glabra but the other tree (second photo), from below Moreb, Pwll, is a slightly different Ulmus sp./var. Some elms can be quite difficult to identify. Note the different type of mine in each photo. In the first elm leaf photo is it perhaps Stigmella lemniscella or ulmivora? whilst, in the second photo, is the parallel-sided  one occupying the space between two veins, possibly Phyllonorycter tristella or maestingella?

Below: The photo shows a part-explanation for my hasty incorrect posting of Tilia (lime) in the previous `leaf-mine post`. The smaller leaf is of typical hazel from a local hedgerow, whilst the larger leaf is of one of the planted hazels near Ashpits Pond - `my Tilia`. It is possibly a robust cultivar of hazel or even `filbert` Corylus maxima - I`m not sure....will look further into it!

Below: These leaves from the earlier day out (retrieved from my compost heap), ARE of Tilia (lime), so I did actually see lime on my previous leaf-mine outing - not getting too forgetful -yet! I`m not sure whether the blotch (bottom left leaf) is lepidopterous though.
Below: Finally, today, I popped into Llanelli to see if I could find any leaf-mines on the planted Plantanus (planes) that line a few streets. I could n`t find any overwhelming evidence, with the best I can offer from some planes at College Hill, Llanelli being shown below. It may well just be discoloration or decay - does n`t look convincing to me.
There is also a photo of an opened-up, curled-over leaf edge of plane with a larva in it...any ideas?

Below: Last of all, below is a photo of Prunus avium (wild cherry) leaves that are well and truly mined, from Penallt, Llanelli. Again, any ideas?


  1. Leaf mines are great, and some are very easy. I had a go at recording them in as many Carms hectads as possible a couple of autumns ago, but coverage is necessarily patchy. My only attempt at mining today - checking an Acer platanoides near Cross Hands - drew a blank.

    A few thoughts on your mines, Ian:
    Beech - Phyllonorycter maestingella, Stigmella sp (2 species, check the frass)
    Hornbeam - the two Hornbeam Stigmella (floslactella and microtheriella, det using frass characters) are also common on Hazel; Phyllonorycter mines on Hornbeam are more interesting!
    Ulmus - both the Stigmella and Phyllonorycter should be IDable with a key
    Hazel - you've got a Phyllonorycter coryli mine there
    Tilia and Platanus - neither "mine" is lepidopterous, but the Platanus leaf fold looks interesting (George or Barry can probably tell us what it is)
    Cherry - that's Lyonetia clerkella, characteristically wandering across many veins

  2. Thanks Sam....appreciated. I`ll look further into the Ulmus one.

  3. I think the beech mine is P messanniella rather than maestingella - the mine looks too oval for the latter.

    Elm - the Phyllonorycter is P tristrigella.

    Sorry can't help with the plane larva - probably a tortricid, but I think these need rearing through to confirm as there are lots of generlists that use a range of broad-leaved trees.


  4. The Stigmella on the Beech leaves looks like the mine originates from an angle between a vein and the midrib, in which case it's tityrella. If however, the egg is away from the midrib and the frass is coiled then it's hemargyrella.

  5. Thanks George and Barry. It`s good to have three (you two and Sam) knowlegeable moth-ers to give the above advice. If I had my way, all leaf-mines would be bar-coded!