Buckeye Leaf Miner Fly, No Name Yet
Agromyzidae or Leaf Miner Fly Family

Very tiny speck of a fly. Larva is a pinpoint yellowish maggot that lives inside the leaves of buckeyes, eating the cells between the upper skin and the lower skin, hence the name "Leaf Miner." In the picture the brown areas are the "mines" hollowed out by the larvae, and the yellowish white spots are the larvae emerging from their mines. After emerging they will convert to pupae by developing a hardened skin, as at upper left (orange). Within the pupae the adult will develop to emerge about a year later, in the spring.

This species is new to science. It was recently discovere in Ohio on Ohio buckeyes and has not yet been properly described and named. Charley Eiseman, naturalist and member of BugGuide, and Dr. Owen Lonsdale of the Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes are in the process of writing up the necessary scientific reports needed to properly introduce the species to the scientific world.

We believe that our flies, mining our sweet buckeyes, are indeed members of this newly recognized speces; however, to be sure, Wildwood pupae have been sent to Charley Eiseman for confirmation of their identity when the adults emerge. Until the discovery of our flies, in May 2017, the species was unknown in Virginia. If the identity is confirmed, it will become an official resident here, at least in Wildwood.

If you are looking for this insect, your best chance to "see" it is to look for damaged areas in sweet buckeye leaves. With a good handlens or closeup camera lens, or just very good eyes, you may find the larvae and/or pupae in the spring.


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