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Kauri leafminer - Acrocercops leucocyma

By N A Martin (2015, revised 2017)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Lepidoptera
Family:
Gracillariidae
Scientific Name:
‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma (Meyrick, 1889)
  • Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Kauri leafminer
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Synonyms

Gracilaria leucocyma Meyrick, 1889
Macarostola leucocyma (Meyrick, 1889)
Parectopa leucocyma (Meyrick, 1889)

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Taxonomic Notes

This moth is not related to true Acrocercops. Hence the apostrophes around the genus name.

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Biostatus and Distribution

This endemic moth is found in the northern half of the North Island where its endemic host plant, kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), occurs. It is found in native ecosystems, parks and gardens.

The moth was first named and described in 1889. It was not until 1958 that it was discovered to be a leafminer of kauri when it was reared by Keith Wise.

Conservation status: Restricted to its host plant, kauri, not threatened.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

There is one generation a year. Moths emerge in spring (November) and summer (February). After mating females lay eggs singly on young kauri leaves. The caterpillars form mines in leaves and when almost fully grown, induce a gall at the base of the leaf in which they spend the winter. In spring they leave the gall and make a cocoon on leaves or other suitable places in which they pupate. The annual cycle was first elucidated and described in 1962 by Keith Wise, an entomologist working for Plant Diseases Division of DSIR.

Adult moths are long and narrow at rest and about 5-6 mm long. The moth holds its wings roof-like over its body. The moth has grey forewings with white markings. Its three pairs legs are dark grey with white rings. It has a pair of very long antennae. It is presumed that the adult male and female moths are attracted to each other and mate. The female moth then lays eggs.

Caterpillars and leaf mines
Eggs are laid singly on the upper surface of new season leaves and have a shiny shell. The caterpillar hatches from an egg and tunnels directly into the leaf forming a mine just under the epidermis (skin) of the leaf. The mine is initially serpentine, but eventually it runs close to the edge of the leaf to the leaf base. Just before reaching the leaf base (petiole) the mine goes deeper into the mid vein area of the leaf. It’s feeding induces a gall, a thickening of plant tissue, in which the caterpillar makes a central cavity. The caterpillar stops feeding until spring, that is it enters a resting stage, diapause. When the caterpillar is feeding and growing, it moults (changes skin). When fully grown the caterpillar is about 4-5 mm long. The caterpillar is white and has a flat brown head with protruding jaws in front. It uses the jaws to bite off pieces of stem tissue at the edges of the leaf mine and gall. The caterpillar in the mine feeds mainly on the sap (juice) from plant cells and ingests little solid material. The mine contains the black frass (insect faeces). The caterpillar is legless and the prominent segments of the body assist the caterpillar when it moves through its mine.

In spring the caterpillar resumes feeding and consumes the inner walls of the gall, then chews a round hole in the roof of the gall through which it leaves.

Cocoon and pupa
After exiting the leaf gall the caterpillar makes a thin, silk shelter on the upper side of a kauri leaf or leaf of another plant. This silk shelter can be difficult to see. Under this shelter the caterpillar spins a silk -lined chamber (cocoon) in which it moults into a white pupa. Shortly before moth emergence, the colour of the wings and legs can be seen through the skin of the pupa. At the apex of the head of the pupa is a sharp spike. This is used by the pupa to break through one end of the cocoon. When the moth is ready to emerge, the pupa wriggles forwards, makes a hole in the cocoon and wriggles most of the way out. The hind end of the pupa grips the silk cocoon and then the moth pulls itself from the pupa.

  • Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Eggshell (arrow) of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) at start of leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Eggshell (arrow) of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) at start of leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Eggshell of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) at start of leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Eggshell of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) at start of leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mines formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mines formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the dark head capsule at the tip of the mine and the dark mid gut in the caterpillar body. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the dark head capsule at the tip of the mine and the dark mid gut in the caterpillar body. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mine formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), note the extension of the mine towards the base of the leaf. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mine formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae), note the extension of the mine towards the base of the leaf. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with old mines and overwintering galls formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The galls are normally formed at the leaf base, but may be in the middle of the leaf.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with old mines and overwintering galls formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The galls are normally formed at the leaf base, but may be in the middle of the leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with old mines and overwintering galls formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The galls are normally formed at the leaf base, but may be in the middle of the leaf.  Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with old mines and overwintering galls formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The galls are normally formed at the leaf base, but may be in the middle of the leaf. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with mines and leaf base (petiole) gall (cut open) formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The caterpillar overwinters in the gall. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with mines and leaf base (petiole) gall (cut open) formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The caterpillar overwinters in the gall. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in a bisected gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in a bisected gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Exit hole of overwintering caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) from a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Exit hole of overwintering caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) from a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Section through gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), and caterpillar exit hole showing spring feeding on gall tissue by overwintered caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Section through gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), and caterpillar exit hole showing spring feeding on gall tissue by overwintered caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing spring feeding on gall tissue by overwintered caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing spring feeding on gall tissue by overwintered caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cocoon of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), Note that in normal light the cocoon is difficult to see under the shiny silk cover. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cocoon of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), Note that in normal light the cocoon is difficult to see under the shiny silk cover. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the point on the head of the pupa that is used to puncture the cocoon prior to moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the point on the head of the pupa that is used to puncture the cocoon prior to moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note colour of the body and wings showing just before moth emergence and the point on the head of the pupa that is used to puncture the cocoon prior to moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note colour of the body and wings showing just before moth emergence and the point on the head of the pupa that is used to puncture the cocoon prior to moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa skin of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) sticking out of its cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), after moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa skin of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) sticking out of its cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), after moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa skin of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) sticking out of its cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), after moth emergence, note the point on the head of the pupal skin that is used to puncture the cocoon silk. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa skin of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) sticking out of its cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), after moth emergence, note the point on the head of the pupal skin that is used to puncture the cocoon silk. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

Moths of this leafminer are similar in appearance to other moths in the genus ‘Acrocercops’, which are also leafminers. The kauri leafminer can be distinguished by the grey and white pattern on the forewings.

The kauri leafminer is the only insect forming a mine in green leaves of kauri. Hence the presence of the moth in an area can be recognised by the occurrence of its leaf mine.

In spring, mature caterpillars make their cocoons on the upper side of kauri leaves or of other plants under kauri trees. The presence of these shiny cocoons is also a strong indication of the presence of kauri leafminer.

  • Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mines formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mines formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cocoon of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), Note that in normal light the cocoon is difficult to see under the shiny silk cover. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cocoon of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), Note that in normal light the cocoon is difficult to see under the shiny silk cover. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

Predators
No predators of this moth have been reported. However, birds and spiders are likely to prey on the moths and caterpillars after they leave the overwintering gall and form their silken cocoon.

Parasitoids
New Zealand Forest Service reared parasitoids from kauri leaves with leaf mines in 1954 and 1955. One species of parasitoid wasp (Hymenoptera) has been reared from overwintering galls of the kauri leafminer. Several wasps develop in a gall. The adult wasps chew a hole in the gall through which they escape. There may also be parasitoids that kill caterpillars in leaf mines.

  • Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing mature larvae of parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing mature larvae of parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing pupae of parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing pupae of parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of adult female parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of adult female parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of adult male and female parasitoids (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of adult male and female parasitoids (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

The kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, forms mines and leaf base (petiole) galls in the young leaves of its only host plant, kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae).

The caterpillars feed on the tissues of the leaf. It first tunnels in the leaf forming a mine just under the epidermis (skin) of the leaf. The mine is initially serpentine, but eventually runs close to the edge of the leaf and extends to the leaf base. Just before reaching the leaf base the mine goes deeper into the mid vein area of the leaf where its feeding induces a gall, a thickening of plant tissue, in which the caterpillar makes a central cavity. The non-feeding (diapausing) caterpillar overwinters in the cavity. In the spring the caterpillar feeds on the internal tissue of the gall.

  • Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae) with mines made by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer adult, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mines formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with new mines formed by caterpillars of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with mines and leaf base (petiole) gall (cut open) formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The caterpillar overwinters in the gall. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), with mines and leaf base (petiole) gall (cut open) formed by a caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). The caterpillar overwinters in the gall. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Non-feeding, overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing spring feeding on gall tissue by overwintered caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing spring feeding on gall tissue by overwintered caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Information Sources

Wise KAJ 1962. Parectopa leucocyma (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) rediscovered as a leaf-miner of kauri (Agathis australis Salisb.). Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand (Zoology) 1(31): 373-375.

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Acknowledgements

Robert Hoare for information about this moth.

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Other Images

  • Caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the dark head capsule at the tip of the mine and the dark mid gut in the caterpillar body. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in leaf mine in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the dark head capsule at the tip of the mine and the dark mid gut in the caterpillar body. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Leaf mine formed by caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Leaf mine formed by caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) in young leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Dead overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Dead overwintering (diapausing) caterpillar of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by cutting open a gall at the base of a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the point on the head of the pupa that is used to puncture the cocoon prior to moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae) exposed by opening the silk cover and cocoon on a leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), note the point on the head of the pupa that is used to puncture the cocoon prior to moth emergence. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing pupae of parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Cut open gall in leaf of kauri, Agathis australis (Araucariaceae), showing pupae of parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of adult male and female parasitoids (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of adult male and female parasitoids (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult parasitoid (Hymenoptera) of overwintering caterpillar of the kauri leafminer, ‘Acrocercops’ leucocyma, (Lepidoptera: Gracillariidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Update History

1 August 2017. NA Martin. Photos added of leaves with overwintering galls in middle of leaf.

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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2015, revised 2017. Kauri leafminer - 'Acrocercops' leucocyma. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 32. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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